Pre-July 1st 2021 archive of recent developments in remote working

If you find a link or story which you think should appear here, please let us know by emailing: dmooney@beerg.com
Stories appear in the order of publication – but are not necessarily posted in that order. Look for NEW in the headline to indicate that the story has been posted over the past 48-72 hours

July 2021

From Daily Mail online:Asda introduces permanent hybrid working model

Date: 2 July , 2021

Supermarket will allow its 4,000 HQ staff to chose whether they work from home or come into the office post pandemic – Asda will introduce a permanent hybrid working model for staff at its head offices once coronavirus restrictions are eased this month. The supermarket chain has confirmed that around 4,000 employees at Asda House in Leeds and George House in Leicester will be able to choose the location from which they wish to work. Bosses said there is no set number of days staff will be expected in the office but they should talk to their managers to ‘strike the right balance between home and office working, whilst ensuring this is led by the needs of the business’.

Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9750075/Asda-introduces-permanent-hybrid-working-model.html

From Coface: The risks and opportunities of virtual offshoring

Date: 1 July , 2021

With permanent telecommuting no longer a taboo, employers will be increasingly tempted to hire teleworking talent in developing countries. Many emerging economies are quickly catching up on education and technological development; yet labour costs remain lower by an order of magnitude. More and more office work will be performed in the developing world and then immaterially exported to wealthier countries at a fraction of its domestic cost. This trend towards “virtual offshoring” is driven by strong financial incentives. 

Link to download Coface Report: https://www.coface.com/content/download/194838/3239229/file/GB_FOCUS+TELETRAVAIL-JUNE-WEB.pdf

June 2021

Right to Disconnect: Real relief for employees or just extra obligations for employers?

Date: June 30, 2021

From Wardyński & Partners, Warsaw, Poland: “In the table, we include a summary of how the right to disconnect has been regulated in Belgium, France (which was the first to introduce provisions on the right to disconnect), Italy and Spain. It is also notable that in these countries, the effectiveness of the legal solutions adopted has been disappointing in practice. Employers have adopted internal policies on the right to disconnect with great reluctance and much slower than expected, and employees have little awareness of their rights. This condition could be counted on to change during the pandemic, when the number of people working from home (and feeling the negative effects of remote work, which the right to disconnect is supposed to counteract) has definitely increased. 

Link: https://codozasady.pl/upload/2021/06/the-right-to-disconnect.pdf

From the BBC: Smaller firms angered by quarantine exemption plans for big business

Date: June 30, 2021

From the BBC:  Foreign business leaders will no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England if their trip is likely to have a significant economic benefit to the UK, the government has announced. The exemption will be for arrivals from amber-list countries, and only given in exceptional circumstances, the Department for Business (BEIS) said. Some business groups and MPs expressed anger as it excludes smaller companies. But BEIS said it would balance economic interests with public safety.

Link: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-57644437

City AM: 800,000 London jobs could be done elsewhere post-Covid

Date: June 29, 2021

From City AM:  Around two out of five people living and working in inner London could continue their roles remotely after the pandemic, according to new research. London risks losing more than 835,000 jobs as the pandemic sparks a permanent shift to more flexible working patterns, and city dwellers are able to move out of the capital to other locations across the UK or even abroad.  An analysis of ONS statistics by consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) found that 41 per cent of people living in London’s 14 inner boroughs could now do their jobs at a distance, i.e. not necessarily at their main office.

Link: https://www.cityam.com/800000-london-jobs-could-be-done-remotely-post-covid/

Daily Mail:  Starling bank boss Anne Boden says she’s embracing home working

Date: June 27, 2021

From the Daily Mail Online:  Boden, previously a staunch advocate of the office, believes the age of ‘presenteeism’ is over. She says: ‘I was somebody who went into the office early in the morning and stayed all day, every day of the week. I thought that was how things should be done. And at Starling I felt I had to be there early in the morning because I was a leader. I was wrong.  ‘Things don’t have to be done like that any longer. We can tap into more people in more regions with technology if we have a combination of hybrid working.’ 

Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/markets/article-9728065/Starling-bank-boss-Anne-Boden-advocates-change-work-habits.html

BBC Worklife: The workers pushing back on the return to the office

Date: June 22, 2021

From the BBC Worklife Webpage: Some companies want staff back in the office for more time than employees had anticipated. Workers like their set-ups, and even doubt bosses’ motives – so they’re resisting.

LINK: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210618-the-workers-pushing-back-on-the-return-to-the-office

The Telegraph (UK): No full-time return for most London office staff, firms warn

Date: June 21, 2021

The UK Telegraph: The Workers and their bosses seem keen on a permanent shift to hybrid working – which is bad news for those who serve commuters. London is braced for a long-term blow from Covid as offices prepare to make home-working permanent.

Link: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/06/21/no-full-time-return-london-office-staff-firms-warn/

The Guardian (UK): The problem isn’t remote working – it’s clinging to office-based practices?

Date: June 21, 2021

By Alexia Cambon: There have been few moments in the history of work as pivotal as the one we find ourselves in now. It took a pandemic to normalise remote working, and, despite the fears of many CEOs, most organisations saw no demonstrable loss of productivity. Now, the global workforce is demanding its right to retain the autonomy it gained through increased flexibility associeties open up again. Pre-pandemic, it was not uncommon for an employer to ask staff to justify their need to work from home. Post-pandemic, employees may ask employers to justify the need to come into the office.

LINK: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/21/remote-working-office-based-practices-offices-employers

From Khaleej Times (UAE): 80% of UAE organisations experienced cyberattacks targeting remote workers

Date: 21 June, 2021

Close to 80% of organisations surveyed in the UAE experienced cyberattacks due to more employees working from home, highlighting the vulnerabilities in legacy security technology and postures.  VMware released the UAE findings from the fourth installment of the Global Security Insights Report, based on an online survey of 3,542 CIOs, CTOs and CISOs in December 2020 from across the globe, including 250 in the UAE.  

Link: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/business/80-of-uae-organisations-experienced-cyberattacks-targeting-remote-workers

UK Sunday Times: Who will win the great WFH tug of war?

Date: June 20, 2021

Deloitte is letting 20,000 staff decide how they work. Morgan Stanley is ordering bankers back to offices. Will Serle used to commute weekly from his home in Scotland to the head office of Capita in London. Covid-19 changed all that. Like everyone else, Serle was confined to his house when Boris Johnson issued his first work-from-home instruction — but even when restrictions ease, the chief people officer of the FTSE 250 outsourcer will keep using his home as his main base.

LINK: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/who-will-win-the-great-wfh-tug-of-war-b9lszjz3q

From UK Guardian: Switch to more home working after Covid ‘will make gender inequality worse’

Date: June 19, 2021

From the Guardian UK: The permanent switch to more home working following the pandemic will cause rising gender inequality in the workplace, according to experts, unless employers carefully monitor their new working policies to make sure women aren’t disadvantaged.  Traditionally, more women than men – particularly those with children or caring responsibilities – have requested flexible working. 

LINK: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/19/switch-to-more-home-working-after-covid-will-make-gender-inequality-worse

Financial Times Editorial: Bosses should persuade staff back to the office

Date: June 19, 2021

Financial Times Editorial: Good arguments beat coercion to wean employees off remote working

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/19d7506b-a829-48f7-9c14-9404e5d2cc65

From The Economist: How to pick the best days to work from home

Date: June 19, 2021

Bartleby in the Economist:  Hybrid working may be the future but that raises the question of how it will actually be organised. Will companies let their employees choose which days they come in to the office, and which days they are at home? And what about working hours? If employees do get a choice, they clearly need a strategy to maximise their visibility and minimise the stress. So this columnist has a few tips about which days you should opt to work from home.

LINK: https://www.economist.com/business/2021/06/19/how-to-pick-the-best-days-to-work-from-home?

UK Telegraph: Deloitte tells staff they can work from home forever

Date: June 18, 2021

Deloitte’s 20,000 UK staff can work wherever they want when Covid restrictions are lifted, the firm’s chief executive Richard Houston told staff on Friday. Employees will not be mandated to be in the office for a set number of days or in specific locations. “That means that our people can choose how often they come to the office, if they choose to do so at all, while focusing on how we can best serve our clients,” Houston said. 

Link: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/06/18/deloitte-tells-staff-work-home-forever/ 

From the Guardian (UK): Workers must be given right to do jobs from home, says Labour

Date: June 18, 2021

From the UK Guardian: Workers must be given a right to do their jobs from home, Labour has demanded as it piled pressure on the government not to let its consultation on flexible working be kicked into the long grass. In the first major announcement made by Angela Rayner since gaining the portfolio of shadow cabinet minister for the future of work, she said employers should not be able to “dictate terms” to staff when the guidance urging people to work from home is expected to be lifted next month.

LINK: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/jun/18/workers-must-be-given-right-to-do-jobs-from-home-says-labour

From City AM: Deloitte tells staff they can work from home forever

Date: June 18, 2021

Staff working at Deloitte will be able to work wherever they want when Covid restrictions are eased and work from home guidance is scrapped. Staff at the Big Four firm will not be obligated to work from the office for a minimum number of days per week, as has been a typical response of Deloitte’s competitors.

LINK: https://www.cityam.com/deloitte-tells-staff-they-can-work-from-home-forever/?

From the Guardian (UK): Ministers will not tell workers to return to office when lockdown ends

Date: June 17, 2021

Workers will not be told by ministers that they should return to their offices when the final phase of lockdown restrictions are expected to be lifted next month, government sources have told the Guardian. In a significant change of approach from last summer, the government is minded to let companies make their own decisions – a strategy that could lead to conflict and confusion among staff.

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/17/ministers-will-not-tell-workers-to-return-to-office-when-lockdown-ends

From the Tony Blair Institute: Anywhere Jobs: Reshaping the Geography of Work

Date: June 16, 2021

From the Tony Blair Institute:  What is becoming clearer is that the experience of people and businesses managing the crisis has brought about a fundamental change in attitudes to work and technology. 

Link: https://institute.global/policy/anywhere-jobs-reshaping-geography-work

Condé Nest: What to Consider When Looking for a Co-Working Space Abroad

Date: June 14, 2021

From CN Traveler: It may be easier than ever to live the remote work dream, but many contemplating taking the plunge are also asking themselves how to do so ethically. When a large number of digital nomads descend on an area en masse, stories of culture clashes abound, and that influx of international cash does not always trickle down to local residents. In extreme cases, digital nomads can gentrify an area to the extent that locals can no longer afford to live in it—or even feel welcome to do so. “We have to be careful not to pose ‘us and them’-style questions when we talk about the work from anywhere movement,” says Lauren Razavi, author of Global Natives: T

Link: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/what-to-consider-when-looking-for-a-co-working-space-abroad

From the Guardian (UK): City banks’ return-to-work plans hit by delay to lockdown easing

Date: June 14, 2021

From the Guardian UK:   The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said more than a third of people working from home – 36% – thought they would keep the arrangement for most of the week. However, there is less enthusiasm among managers, with as few as 24% of companies planning to use increased home working in future.

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/14/companies-keener-on-return-to-uk-offices-than-staff-surveys-say

‘WFH is a fad. We’re moulded by science or God to be together,’ says Sir George Iacobescu

Date: June 13, 2021

An interview in the The Times (UK) with the Canary Wharf’s Sir George Iacobescu, who fled Romania and built Canary Wharf. At 75, he’s stepping back, but he’s feeling defiant.

Link: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/interview-wfh-is-a-fad-were-moulded-by-science-or-god-to-be-together-says-canary-wharfs-sir-george-iacobescu-xkxmbk302

From the UK Guardian: Goldman Sachs staff in US must disclose Covid vaccination status

Date: June 12, 2021

From the Guardian (UK): Goldman Sachs has told its staff in the US that they must disclose their Covid-19 vaccination status before a planned return to office working next week.  The investment bank, whose 6,000 UK workers have separately been told they have the option of filling out their status anonymously to give the business an idea of vaccination levels, had previously told US staff that disclosing their inoculation status would be optional.

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jun/11/goldman-sachs-staff-in-us-must-disclose-covid-vaccination-status 

Post-pandemic decisions needed on working from home

Date: June 12, 2021

Irish Times columnist Cliff Taylor writes: An awful lot hangs on whether working from home lasts beyond the end of the pandemic. Of course, now that everyone has seen how remote working can operate, some form of work flexibility is here to stay. But beyond that we really haven’t a clue how this is going to work out. As one senior executive observed to me this week – where will your place of work be in future? Is it defined by your desk in work or by where you set up your laptop. So far, many companies are plumping for “hybrid” working – a mix of in and out of the office – as a kind of half-way house when employees start to return in the autumn. 

Link: https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/cliff-taylor-post-pandemic-decisions-needed-on-working-from-home-1.4590858

From The Economist: Remote workers work longer, not more efficiently

Date: June 10, 2021

From The Economist: The return to the office is well under way, just as summer in the northern hemisphere begins. Pretty soon, people will be able to resume the habit of staring wistfully out of the window, hoping it will still be sunny at the weekend. As many workers embrace a hybrid pattern, perhaps commuting 2-3 days a week, the experiment in full-time home-working is ending. At the same time, assessments of its effectiveness are proliferating.

Link: https://www.economist.com/business/2021/06/10/remote-workers-work-longer-not-more-efficiently

From Reuters: Wall Streeters outpace Europeans back to office

Date: June 7, 2021

Reuters: American banks could steal another march on their European rivals. JPMorgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sachs’ David Solomon want staff back at their New York and City of London desks at least some of the time this summer. Barclays, Deutsche Bank and HSBC, are being laxer. Sidewalk-pounding bankers working at Wall Street firms might win more facetime with clients, and an even greater share of deals.

LINK: https://www.reuters.com/breakingviews/wall-streeters-outpace-europeans-back-office-2021-06-07/

From CBS NEWS: United Airlines says it, too, won’t hire unvaccinated workers

Date: June 7, 2021

From CBS News: United Airlines is following in Delta’s flight path in saying it won’t hire employees who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19. “As we welcome new employees to the company, it’s important we instill in them United’s strong commitment to safety,” the carrier stated in a memo to employees. “Effective for all job offers made after June 15, 2021, we will require any external candidates for U.S.-based jobs to attest that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by their start date.” New employees will be required to upload their vaccination card into United’s system within seven days of joining the company.

Link: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/american-airlines-vaccinated-workers-hire/

Apple asks employees to return to the office three days a week in September.

Date: June 7, 2021

Transitioning from a remote work scenario, as necessitated by Covid, to hybrid work in a post-Covid world will not be easy or without hiccups, even in the most forward thinking of companies.

Link: https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2021/6/4/22491629/apple-employees-push-back-return-office-internal-letter-tim-cook

Daily Mail, Opinion: “We are being hamstrung by selfish refuseniks insisting they have a right to work from home for ever”

Date: June 7, 2021

For a different perspective on the return to the office, you may like to read this opinion piece from the UK Daily Mail’s columnist: Richard Littlejohn… an opinion writer who lives in Florida, writes for a UK newspaper and has probably not been based anywhere near an office for the past 20 years?

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-9661837/RICHARD-LITTLEJOHN-Welcome-House-Fun-hamstrung-selfish-refuseniks.html

From IndustriALL: 
Principles and guidelines on telework

Date: 3 June, 2021

This paper from IndustriAll Global Union on “principles and guidelines on telework” is likely to inform national/local union thinking on the issue and could also surface in discussions with European Works Councils. One of the basic demands of IndustriAll is that “Telework should be voluntary and reversible. Teleworking may not be suitable for all workers and for all types of jobs, therefore no worker shall be forced to telework.” 

Link: http://www.industriall-union.org/industriall-principles-and-guidelines-on-telework

UK Government set to take ‘gentle’ approach to get people back to the office

Date: June 2, 2021

City A.M. reports that government ministers will not take a hard-line approach to getting people back into the office once Covid restrictions are fully eased, with a source telling the paper there needs to be “a co-operative, gentle reminder” that “is about extolling the virtues of people going back into work.” This contrasts with a stance taken last year where it was suggested firms could sack those who refused to stop working remotely post-lockdown. City A.M. says some business groups are calling for officials to help enable firms to implement a more flexible model. 

LINK: https://www.cityam.com/exclusive-government-set-to-take-gentle-approach-to-get-people-back-to-the-office/?

SAP adopts flexible working, by popular demand

Date: June 1, 2021

From Reuters: Walldorf, Germany headquartered business software group SAP is to adopt flexible working for the company’s 100,000 employees around the world in response to overwhelmingly positive feedback from staff after the experience of remote working during the pandemic. An internal survey found that 94% of employees desired greater working flexibility, and nearly half of them planned to work in the office for one or two days a week in the future. 

LINK: https://www.reuters.com/technology/software-group-sap-adopts-flexible-working-by-popular-demand-2021-06-01/

May 2021

In Ireland, Digital-hub ‘life changing’ for Swinford entrepreneurs

Date: May 31, 2021

FROM RTE.ie: The first phase of a national hub network has been launched in Swinford, Co Mayo, as part of the Government’s five year strategy for rural Ireland. The former Swinford courthouse in the centre of the town was lying idle and derelict before being transformed into a high-tech hub. It now provides remote working facilities for young people, businesses, and tourists.

LINK: https://www.rte.ie/news/regional/2021/0531/1225076-remote-hubs/

House Hunters Are Leaving the City, and Builders Can’t Keep Up

Date: May 29, 2021

From the NYT: After a prolonged period of anemic sales since the housing bust, home builders now risk losing business because they can’t supply enough inventory. Home prices have shot up 11.3 percent over the past year, according to CoreLogic, keeping many people out of the market. At the same time, the cost of labor and raw materials — in particular the cost of lumber, which has more than doubled over the past year — is spiraling upward, pushing prices higher still.

LINK: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/29/business/economy/new-home-building-suburbs.html

City-dwellers who work from home can be left feeling lonely and glum, new analysis suggests

Date: May 27, 2021

From the Daily Mail: A survey of the country’s well-being found that city-dwellers working from home were less happy compared with those travelling to work or working away from their homes.  However the WFH effect on happiness did not apply to those living in the countryside, the Office for National Statistics study found. The data was drawn from regular ONS well-being surveys carried out in England and Wales during the first three months of this year. Yesterday’s report said that across England and Wales happiness levels averaged 7.2 out of 10. But in London the score dropped to 6.5.

LINK: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9623481/City-dwellers-work-home-left-feeling-lonely-glum-new-analysis-suggests.html

KPMG launches relaxed work policies to combat remote work fatigue

Date: May 26, 2021

Based on staff feedback during the pandemic, KPMG has devised a set of policies addressing the strains and stress of remote working. Measures include: “heads-down” time on Wednesday afternoons, for staff to focus exclusively on work, with no non-essential meetings; shorter meeting times; and “camera-free Fridays,” with the aim of creating a “more relaxed transition into the weekend” by not requiring staff to appear on camera. While these policies are not formal, the firm says that “people can make these changes the rule versus the exception, but we recognize there are circumstances when that may not be possible.”

Link: https://www.accountingtoday.com/news/kpmg-launches-relaxed-work-policies-to-combat-remote-work-fatigue

From Bloomberg: Workers Return to Weirder Offices With Moveable Walls and Touchless Elevators

Date: May 26, 2021

From Bloomberg: Masked, desk-bound and unable to recognize their colleagues in an elevator, people are starting to return to offices in cities around the world where the pandemic is receding. Many will find their offices transformed, too.  improve air quality.

LINK: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-05-26/walls-move-and-apps-rule-as-workers-return-to-weirder-offices?sref=0XF2cxJu

IndustriALL: Landmark agreement in Germany: trade unions can legally access teleworkers

Date: May 26, 2021

In Germany, IG BCE has recently signed a pioneer agreement that can inspire sister unions across Europe. In the German rubber industry, trade unionists from now on have a legal right to access teleworkers. This new agreement is a novelty in the field of trade union rights, as it enables communication with teleworkers in order to recruit members, defend their rights and to take collective decisions at the same time as data protection is observed. From now on, around 30,000 workers in 100 rubber companies nationwide can be reached via:

LINK: https://news.industriall-europe.eu/Article/612

Hybrid working: risk review and reset for growth beyond 2021

Date: May 26, 2021

With many employees continuing to work remotely and subject to stay-at-home requirements, curfews and other measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, we are busy advising on the issues raised by remote working; whether temporarily while restrictions continue, or for those employers considering arrangements in the longer term, perhaps as part of a hybrid working arrangement or in response to individual staff requests. In their latest podcast, Olivia Sinfield, UK employment partner, talks to Anke Freckmann, Chair of our International Employment Group and a partner in our Berlin office about what we are seeing as clients transition to hybrid working arrangements. Osborne Clarke

Link: https://www.osborneclarke.com/insights/international-employment-law-coffee-break/

What’s the Point of the Office Again?

Dates: May 26, 2021

From Bloomberg: The workplace offers the opportunity for social display, not improved productivity…  People worked from home — once derided as “shirking from home” — for a year, and the sky didn’t fall. In fact, people worked harder and became more efficient. Time once wasted on commuting was reallocated, and flexibility made it easier to pivot between work and life. Less time went to politicking and gossiping, and more time went to important work. The office is primarily a social space, not a productive one. 

Link: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-05-26/return-to-work-what-s-the-point-of-the-office-again?

The boss is back but the workers are staying at home

Dates: May 24, 2021

From the FT: Across New York and other big cities, chief executives have returned to offices that are, oftentimes, their seat of power and most cherished environment. Yet statistics suggest their workers do not feel the same pull — whether it is because of health concerns, a lack of childcare, or the misery of commuting.

LINK: https://www.ft.com/content/4743268e-e903-4822-acba-c22495367bbf

PvdA says Dutch workers should have legal right not to answer work calls after hours: 

Date: May 20, 2021

The Labour Party in the Netherlands (PvdA) wants to legislate on the ‘right to disconnect’ from work to stop employers contacting staff at all times of the day or night. Employers should agree with workers about when they can be contacted or else face warnings and fines from social affairs ministry inspectors, said lawmaker Gijs van Dijk, who said the pandemic is eroding the dividing line between work and private life.

LINK: https://nltimes.nl/2021/05/20/workers-legal-right-answer-work-calls-hours-pvda

Covid cuts spell the end of business trips and expenses

Date: May 19th, 2021

From The Times (UK): Analysis of financial records shows that big companies have saved “fortunes” on travel, marketing and other administrative expenses as employees worked from home as a consequence of the pandemic. Google, Amazon and HSBC have each reported savings of more than $1bn. The Times’ Charlie Parker, reflecting on whether the outlay on such expenses will return to pre-pandemic levels, says analysts expect a “redirection” of costs into new expenses more pertinent to new ways of working. 

LINK: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/covid-cuts-spell-the-end-of-business-trips-and-expenses-8w6k98lnt

Company tells home workers to track their carbon footprint

Date: May 18, 2021

From the Daily Telegraph: One of Britain’s biggest money managers has asked staff to monitor their carbon footprint while working from home as part of a new green energy drive. Standard Life Aberdeen is asking thousands of staff to download an app that will help it meet climate goals

LINK: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2021/05/18/standard-life-asks-staff-monitor-carbon-emissions-working-home/

Irish Remote Working Survey Shows 95% In Favour of Working Remotely

Date: May 18th 2021

Survey led by NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission shows that 47% of team managers find no difference between managing their team remotely compared to onsite while 44% say it is more difficult to manage the team remotely.  Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway and the Western Development Commission have published summary data from the second annual national remote working survey in Ireland.  Over 2,100 managers gave their views on managing teams remotely and their plans for remote work post pandemic.

Full Report: http://whitakerinstitute.ie/Remote-Working-National-Survey-Report.pdf.

UNI-GLOBAL: Analysis of Covid-19 support for workers finds Argentina top 0f 181 govt responses ranked

Date: May 18th, 2021

A new global study from UNI Global Union and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has found that 98 per cent of the world’s workers are not getting the sick pay, wage replacement and social benefits they need to withstand the impacts of COVID-19.

LINK: https://www.uniglobalunion.org/news/first-global-analysis-covid-19-support-workers-ranks-181-governmental-responses-pandemic-finds

From McKinsey: The future of work: Understanding what’s temporary and what’s transformative

Date: May 17, 2021

COVID-19 has accelerated changes to the nature of work. It is important, however, to recognize that the two major questions organizations must articulate remain the same as before the pandemic: “How do we make money?” and “How is the work done?” What has changed are the ways in which organizations can and should answer these questions.  Our research and client work point to three key areas that organizations must clearly evaluate as they seek not only to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis but thrive in the post-pandemic world. 

Link: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-organization-blog/four-ways-communications-can-engage-employees-on-the-return-to-workplace-journey

From McKinsey: What executives are saying about the future of hybrid work

Date: May 17, 2021

Organizations are clear that postpandemic working will be hybrid. After that, the details get hazy. In the postpandemic future of work, nine out of ten organizations will be combining remote and on-site working, according to a new McKinsey survey of 100 executives across industries and geographies.1 The survey confirms that productivity and customer satisfaction have increased during the pandemic.

Link: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/what-executives-are-saying-about-the-future-of-hybrid-work?

IBEC research reveals business expectations for return to workplaces

Date: May 17th 2021

IBEC, the group that represents Irish business, has published the results of a major survey of business that reveals that businesses across Ireland are beginning their preparations for a gradual return to workplaces in the coming weeks and months. The survey findings reaffirm the urgent need for Government to provide clarity and timelines to support businesses in safely returning staff to the workplace.

Link: https://www.ibec.ie/new-ibec-research-reveals-business-expectations-for-return-to-workplaces

IndustriALL REPORT: Why telework needs institutional regulation and collective bargaining

Date: May 17th, 2021

Telework has expanded massively during the pandemic and is here to stay. For some workers it has been a positive experience but working remotely over a long period has also revealed limitations and risks. Trade unions have to react quickly to make sure that workers can benefit from teleworking while avoiding potential pitfalls.

LINK: http://www.industriall-union.org/report-why-telework-needs-institutional-regulation-and-collective-bargaining

Accountancy firm BDO tells staff to work where they want after pandemic

Date: May 17th, 2021

From the FT:  Accountancy firm BDO has told staff to decide for themselves when to come to the office after the pandemic, adopting a more flexible approach than banks and professional services groups that have told employees how often they should expect to commute.  The UK’s fifth-largest accountant, which employs about 5,500 people across 18 offices, will ask staff to work wherever is most productive depending on the task they are doing. For most people this will involve a mixture of working at home, in the office and at client sites, BDO said.

LINK: https://www.ft.com/content/ce81651a-7451-4781-a9b8-85c96f2c5be0

How to avoid the return of office cliques

Date: May 17th, 2021

From the FT: As offices open, there are fears that if hybrid is mismanaged, organisational power will revert to the workplace with executives forming in-office cliques and those employees who seek promotion and networking opportunities switching back to face time with senior staff as a way to advance their careers. 

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/c113f86b-fbe3-4ed4-b39a-359ad57d72b8

Women ‘will suffer most’ if we go back to the office every day, claims boss of Aviva insurance

Date: May 16th, 2021

Women will be the biggest losers if workers are forced to return to offices five days a week after the pandemic, the boss of insurance giant Aviva has warned. Chief executive Amanda Blanc said the lockdown had given businesses a chance to reassess working patterns to help women who are saddled with the brunt of childcare and other responsibilities at home. Aviva has emailed its 16,500 staff to say that it is ‘safe’ to return to the office if they wish to do so, according to a memo seen by The Mail on Sunday.

Link: www.dailymail.co.uk/Women-suffer-office-Aviva-insurance-warns.html

From EY Australia: How to remake Central Business Districts the powerhouses of our economies. 

Date: May, 2021

In late 2020, the Property Council commissioned EY to take a deep dive into the issue. EY surveyed more than 600 CBD users and interviewed 26 big thinkers with local and international perspectives.  EY ran focus groups with CBD users, hosted roundtables with Property Council members and investigated emerging trends. EY scoured the globe for best practice case studies that could hint at future possibilities. This report – which refers to close to 100 academic papers and international insights – is a curation of the big issues and best ideas out there. 

Open Report PDF HERE

Death of the call centre? Workers ring in the changes during WFH era

Date: May 14th, 2021

From The FT: A recent poll of 107 call centre managers and directors conducted by industry bodies found just four who anticipate a full return to the office.  HSBC has confirmed its 1,200 call centre staff will remain at home permanently. Outsourcer Capita has said many of its 16,000-strong call centre workforce in the UK can do the same, while rival Teleperformance has indicated many of its 10,000 employees will be allowed to continue working remotely once the pandemic subsides.

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/df0646fa-3ed6-4126-9819-ddbeb1948916

JP Morgan’s UK staff set to return to office from next month

Date: May 11th, 2021

JP Morgan has told its UK staff that more of them will return to the office from next month as restrictions start to ease.  The American bank told staff to prepare for a “consistent schedule” which combines both remote and office working but offices will operate at maximum 50 per cent of capacity, according to a memo seen by Financial News. 

Link: www.cityam.com/jp-morgans-uk-staff-set-to-return-to-office-from-next-month/

THE FT: US and Europe split on bringing bankers back to the office

Date: May 10th, 2021

From the Financial Times: A transatlantic rift has opened up in banking over the merits of bringing employees back to the office quickly, with some US executives calling for a swift return to pre-pandemic normality while many of their European counterparts take a more cautious approach.

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/547a4dc2-e11b-4e8f-b526-cbf135ba7b4d

London will ‘bustle’ again as lockdown ends and remote working era fades

Date: May 10th, 2021

Very little guidance was given on working from home, however, and for how long that should continue when lockdown restrictions ease further on 21 June. With that said, Johnson said he expected cities and town centres to once again “bustle” when work from home guidance is amended, with people keen to return to interact in a way that was familiar to them pre-pandemic.

Link: www.cityam.com/boris-cities-will-bustle-once-again-once-wfh-guidance-is-amended

Flexibility and fellow staff will pull us back to the office

Date: May 10th, 2021

Op-Ed by Andrew Hill: In planning a post-pandemic return to the workplace, too many employers are fixated on fixtures and fittings. 

…As employers contemplate how to accommodate the flexible, post-pandemic needs of their vastly more privileged white-collar staff, they talk increasingly about how to “entice” people to return. They switch between outright orders and passive-aggressive hints, such as Goldman Sachs’s memo to staff last week, reminding them that its “culture of collaboration, innovation and apprenticeship thrives when our people come together”. They flag the fixtures and fittings they have designed to make office life safe and attractive. Some seem fixated on rearranging the desk-chairs on the sinking hulk of the old workplace.

Link: https://www.ft.com/content/b0dcaf74-9428-4f64-84f2-41b001e1e311

UK Times: A new culture of work awaits

Date: May 10th, 2021

The Times considers some of the anxieties people have ahead of a return to the office next month as businesses set up their hybrid working models. The paper’s Damian Whitworth reminds readers of the importance of the office, quoting PwC chairman Kevin Ellis, who says employees would jeopardise their careers were they to work remotely indefinitely. That said, talent won’t commute into the office to do work that can be done at home.

Link: /www.thetimes.co.uk/heading-to-the-office-let-the-backstabbing-begin-w3vrs5kt2

From McKinsey: The Great Exhaustion.

Date: May 9th, 2021

One thing that burned-out employees have in common—leaders who have yet to get specific about the future of hybrid work. Click link below:

mckinsey.com/our-insights/five-fifty-the-great-exhaustion?

Hybrid working embraced by most of the Square Mile’s largest employers.

Date: May 8th, 2021

A majority of the City of London’s largest employers will continue with some sort of hybrid approach to working after pandemic restrictions ease. Employees appear largely in agreement that, even though the flexibility of working from home is enjoyable, collaboration is more challenging remotely. The Square Mile’s ten largest employers by office size were surveyed by City AM: the Bank of England, Nomura, Big Four firms Deloitte, PwC and KPMG along with Deutsche Bank all say they will be moving to a hybrid model.

Link: www.cityam.com/square-miles-largest-employers-embrace-hybrid-working

Chris Herd’s remote working tips

Dated: May 8th, 2021

A Twitter thread from our friend Chris Herd (Chris recorded a BEERG Byte (#15) with us in Oct 2020) featuring several few tips on working remotely from twenty experts with 100+ years experience working remotely:

Tweet: https://twitter.com/chris_herd/status/1391021349318111233?s=20

Washingtonian staff goes on publishing strike after CEO’s op-ed about remote work

Dated: May 7th, 2021

Washingtonian magazine staffers launched a day-long protest on Friday in response to an op-ed written by their boss, who warned that continuing to work from home as the pandemic subsides could make employees less valuable and easier to “let go.” Cathy Merrill, chief executive of the D.C.-centered magazine, shared her concerns about the popularity of remote work in a Washington Post op-ed published Thursday, originally titled: “As a CEO, I want my employees to understand the risks of not returning to work in the office.”

Link: www.washingtonpost.com/media/washingtonian-strike/

Goldman to bring US and UK bankers back to the office in June

Dated: May 6th, 2021

Goldman Sachs has told its bankers in the US and UK that they should be ready to return to the office next month in a move that makes the New York lender one of Wall Street’s first major banks to recall employees.  “We know from experience that our culture of collaboration, innovation and apprenticeship thrives when our people come together, and we look forward to having more of our colleagues back in the office so that they can experience that once again on a regular basis,” said a staff memo signed by the bank’s three most senior executives, including chief executive David Solomon. 

Link: www.bbc.com/news/business-56993886

No full-time return to the office for over a million people in UK

Date: May 6th, 2021

Almost all of 50 of the UK’s biggest employers questioned by the BBC say they do not plan to bring staff back to the office full-time.  Some 43 of the companies said they would embrace a mix of home and office working, with staff encouraged to work from home two to three days a week. Organisations cited “smart working” and “flexibility” as reasons for introducing hybrid working, and many suggested that workers would be able to make their own choices about how often they come in to the office.

Link: cityam.com/no-full-time-return-to-the-office

Google and KPMG post-pandemic plans to let staff work from home

Dated: May 6th, 2021

Google and KPMG have revealed their post-pandemic plans to let staff work from home – as firms consider how much time staff should spend in the office as normality returns.   Accounting firm KPMG told its 16,000 UK staff on Wednesday that they will work in the office for up to four days in a fortnight starting next month under a hybrid working model drawn up following the recent decline in British Covid cases. And U.S. tech giant Google revealed plans to allow 20 per cent of its 140,000 employees to permanently work from home starting September 1.  The company had originally plan to have all of its employees return to work at its offices at least three times a week. 

Link: www.reuters.com/pmg-uk-staff-work-offices-up-four-days-fortnight

KPMG UK gives staff extra time off amid shift to hybrid working

Dated: May 5th 2021

No full-time return to the office for over a million people in UK after enduring stressful working conditions during the pandemic. Employees will also get an extra day off on June 21st when Covid restrictions are lifted in the UK. The firm told staff on Wednesday that they will spend on average just two days a week in the office from June as part of a shift to permanent flexible working.

Link: www.telegraph.co.uk/kpmg-staff-get-one-afternoon-week/

Ericsson to launch subscription service for remote working

Dated May 4th, 2021

Swedish telecom equipment company Ericsson is launching a subscription service for remote working in North America. The service would allow employees of small businesses to start working remotely in minutes with access to licensed apps, cloud storage and security tools. Applications can be purchased from a marketplace, the platform accessed from any device, and a dedicated IT technician would not be needed to set up the system.

Link: www.reuters.com/ericsson-launch-subscription-service-remote-office-2021-05-04/

Scotland: Businesses seek out smaller, connected offices

Date: May 4th 2021

Digital connectivity, rather than physical location, is likely to be the main driver for the workspace of the future, according to a survey of Scottish businesses for the Addleshaw Goddard Scottish Business Monitor. More than 500 businesses were asked during the first quarter of the year about their future workspace priorities. Nearly all who responded (95%) said internet and digital connectivity would be the top priority, compared to only 15% who preferred a city centre location, and 40% who named strong public transport links as the determining factors.

Link: www.lawscot.org.uk/businesses-seek-smaller-best-connected-offices-report/

Norwegian wealth fund rethinks working week

Dated May 3rd, 2021

Employees at Norway’s sovereign wealth fund will only be asked to come to work at the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays once the pandemic is over, according to CEO Nicolai Tangen. He said Norges Bank Investment Management, the central bank unit that manages the $1.3 trillion fund, would offer flexible working to its 520 employees in Oslo, London, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo and Luxembourg.

Link: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-swf-idUSKBN2CK0TU

From Deloitte: Understanding the pandemic’s impact on working women

Dated: May, 2021

A study from Deloitte has found that the pandemic has dented female professionals’ work-life balance and overall wellbeing. The Women @ Work survey found that the pandemic, which drove a wave of home-working and home-schooling, has taken “a heavy toll on women’s wellbeing, motivation and careers.”

LINK: https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/understanding-the-pandemics-impact-on-working-women.html

April 2021

From NERB: Why Working from Home Will Stick

Dated: April, 2021

In this working paper for the US National Bureau of Economic Research, Jose Maria Barrero, Nicholas Bloom and Steven J Davis describe the pandemic as “a mass social experiment in working from home”. They find the practice increased from 5% to 50% in the US and expect it will settle at about 20% after the crisis.

Link: https://www.nber.org/papers/w28731

Advanced Workplace Associates – US & UK papers: 

Dated: April, 2021

AWA has revealed post COVID-19 world of work needs a new psychological contract between employers and employees that recognizes the unique needs of people at different stages in their lives. The creation of new ‘working together agreements’ must be facilitated by leaders and teams within an organization-wide framework, to determine how best teams can work together – whilst ensuring fairness and consistency.

Link:  www.advanced-workplace.com/awa/research/whitepapers/

From McKinsey: Out of the shadows: Sustainably improving workplace mental health

Date: 9 April, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated preexisting workplace mental health challenges, creating a new imperative for leaders to take a holistic and methodical approach to workplace mental health.

Link: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/asia-pacific/out-of-the-shadows-sustainably-improving-workplace-mental-health?cid=soc-web#