As the prevalence of Covid-19 has subsided, the work from home culture is slowly being eroded and employers are beginning to insist that workers return to the office. In many cases, this has taken the form of workers being invited to take part in some kind of hybrid working, where at least initially they are still allowed to spend some days per week working from home.
It is anticipated that this is something that will slowly be changed, with the rules being tightened and more days in the office being required until the working conditions are the same, or nearly the same as before the pandemic.
While there are those who welcome the return to the office, others are less than keen, preferring the better work-life balance that comes with cutting out the commute and being able to manage everyday life tasks while also getting the work done. We look at which jobs are leading the return to the office.
Jobs Leading the Return to the Office
The financial industry is one that seems particularly keen to go back to in-person working, with the Chief Executive of Goldman Sachs Investment Bank going as far as to describe remote working as “an aberration that we’re going to correct as quickly as possible.”
Other senior banking figures have backed this position, with JPMorgan saying that they were around 60% office occupancy in April of this year, though they were “more keen than most” on return to office, according to a manager who spoke to the Financial Times.
This is largely due to the idea that in-person collaboration can yield more innovative ideas and solutions. This concept, coupled with the impression that new employees who work remotely won’t be getting the level of mentorship that they need in order to succeed is what is largely driving the push for a reduction of remote work in the financial services sector.
UK Civil Service
The official UK Government policy is that people should return to the office if they can. The Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told LBC Radio “We’ve got to get back to some degree of normality” and he went on to say of Covid-19:
“It’s something we have to live with. And if we are going to live with it, I think the sooner we get back to the pre-Covid world the better in terms of workplace practices.”
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Minister for Government Efficiency has written to all UK Government departments saying:
“Now that we are learning to live with Covid and have lifted all legal restrictions in England, we must continue to accelerate the return of civil servants to office buildings to realise the benefits of face-to-face, collaborative working and the wider benefits for the economy.”
This is a wide umbrella term which includes many businesses in the service sector that keep the corporate world running smoothly, including architects, accountants and solicitors.
Many firms in this sector are keen to have their employees back in the office as they want to mirror the approaches of their clients in banking and finance. PwC, one of the so-called “big-four” accountancy firms messaged employees to let them know that they should be back in the office two or three days per week.
One legal firm has offered their employees the chance to work from home permanently, if they are willing to accept a 20% pay cut for doing so. This is an unusual approach but may be something that more firms come to consider due to their employees being reluctant to return to the office.
Remote vs Hybrid vs Full Return to the Office
As we move on from the pandemic, many workers will have a choice to make on whether they want to return to an office environment. Many people who previously worked in offices have now experienced the increased efficiency that they can achieve when working remotely and don’t see the point of returning to a soulless corporate office environment.
There are even some surveys that put the percentage of office workers who want to remain remote, or at the very least hybrid, as high as ninety-seven percent. This is clearly at odds with the view of managers, in that a survey by Goodhire found that 60% of managers agreed that a full-scale return to the office is coming.
It is a popular belief that there is a benefit in mixing the two styles of working, getting the maximum benefit from the days working remotely and also the chance to be in the office, collaborating with colleagues.
Some of this is perhaps underpinned by a concern that remaining a remote only employee will bring disadvantages when it comes to the promotion process or even calls for remote workers to be paid less, creating two tiers of employee.
It can depend on your personality type and family commitments can also help to determine which way of working suits you best. For some a hybrid and flexible working schedule can allow them to look after children and take care of life admin tasks more easily, like being in to receive online shopping orders etc.
Full Return to the Office
Many people enjoy the social aspect of actually being in an office and will have found the permanent remote working of the last couple of years a real drag on their energy and productivity. Some feel that they are better able to share ideas and what they see as an office culture if they are physically present in the one location.
These are all valid views and there is no one right way to proceed. It is a case of figuring out what style of working is best suited to your particular situation and lifestyle. For some, the commute is a time of high quality thinking time but for others it is a wasted hour tacks on to each end of their day. People see things differently and it is important to decide to do what is best for you. Don’t forget these things when returning to the office!
If you are someone who isn’t keen to return to the office, but it looks like your employer is going to force this to happen, it may be time to brush up on your CV writing and cover letter writing skills.
On the Embracing Future Potential network of sites we have job boards for those who are looking to refresh their career or perhaps find a role that makes it easier for them to care for children or to study.