Rishi Sunak has told young people that going to the office can be “really beneficial” for their careers and cautioned that video conferencing is not a substitute.
The chancellor said that working from home would not have allowed him to build strong relationships that would have stood the test of time and cautioned against allowing remote working to become the norm.
The ministers have abandoned the formal advice of working from home, instead “expecting and recommending a gradual return during the summer.”
Companies are taking a cautious approach, with millions of workers expected to spend more days at home than in the office after the pandemic triggered a revolution in work patterns. Some ministers believe that the change may be permanent.
In an interview with LinkedIn News, Sunak highlighted his experiences and a recent visit to Scotland, where he met those who were starting a career in financial services. He said: “I was telling you that I still talk to the mentors that I found when I started my job and that they have helped me even after we have gone in different ways. I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my internship or my first part of my career. [Microsoft] Teams and Zoom.
“That’s why I think that for young people, in particular, being able to be physically in an office is valuable.”
Last summer, the government launched a campaign to urge people to return to their workplace as the nation emerged from the first wave of the pandemic. This was abandoned when the second wave took over.
Sunak said: “Somehow we have stopped saying that people should actively work from home and now we have let companies find the right approach. As for going back to work. . . According to everything else that we are doing, it has been gradual, it is cautious, it is careful, so there will be a gradual return to the offices. “
Ministers are increasingly concerned that city and town centers may be damaged by the change of offices. Boris Johnson has repeatedly raised the issue with Conservative MPs.
American companies have taken a stricter approach than those in Britain when trying to get workers back into the office, especially in the financial sector. James Gorman, chief executive of investment bank Morgan Stanley, told employees: “If you want New York taxes paid, you work in New York.”
David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs, said in February of home culture work: “It is an aberration that we are going to correct as soon as possible.”
Figures from the Office for National Statistics show a significant change in work patterns since the height of the pandemic in the UK. In February, 37 percent of employees said they worked solely from home compared to 34 percent who traveled for work. At the end of last month, 20 percent of people worked at home and 50 percent worked fully in the office. Home work was highest among people ages 30-49, at 45 percent, dropping to 34 percent for people ages 16-29.
Data from the Business Outlook and Conditions Survey suggested that 24 percent of companies intended to use the increased work-from-home as a permanent model, while 28 percent were considering the merits of such a move. Thirty-six percent of employees believed that they would spend most or all of their time working from home in the future.