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| 1 minute read

Is hybrid working really a "joke?"

Alan Sugar has hit the headlines again with a controversial attack on the work ethic of people working from home. He has criticised PWC's decision to offer Friday afternoons off to all its staff, referring to it as "a bloody joke”. In the same tweet he also said “all this work from home BS is a total joke. There is no way people work as hard or are as productive as when they had to turn up at a work location". It seems that he is not alone in this anti-working from home viewpoint. Jacob Rees-Mogg has recently expressed very similar sentiments in calling for a mass return to Westminster by civil servants. Yet, such naysayers are wilfully ignoring the facts. PWC has stated that a survey of 6,000 of its staff revealed that about 75% of them felt that PWC's shorter hours in summer policy improved their general sense of wellbeing and 93% agreed it positively impacted their day-to-day working experience throughout July and August. And a recent study by Future Forum suggests that inflexible return to work policies are driving employee dissatisfaction and, therefore, attrition in favour of more forward thinking employers. Given there are many companies that have embraced the hybrid model as their strategy for the foreseeable future, there is plenty of choice for those employees who enjoy the advantages that this brings and they are likely to vote with their feet. 

There will always be employees that take advantage of their employers but, as employers and their advisors well know, this happened well before the pandemic and will carry on despite it. But this issue can be managed with engaged and proactive management and robust policies and procedures that set out clear boundaries and the disciplinary consequences that will follow for non-compliance. And the benefit to many employees of being trusted to manage their own time and, therefore, that all important work-life balance, whether they have child or parental care responsibilities, dogs to walk or gym classes to attend for their personal wellbeing is, contrary to the opinions of some, being shown by the data to translate into more engaged and productive employees and a better bottom line. So, as long as there are a few checks and balances in place, everyone wins.

Big four accounting and services firm PwC has told employees they can finish work early on Fridays over the summer.

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employment