Rishi Sunak has urged businesses not to abandon offices and warned that employees may consider leaving their jobs if forced to work remotely full time.
A number of companies have announced plans to close offices and this has prompted fears for the future of city centre economies that rely on office workers for their survival. However, the Chancellor has argued the office environment provides a superior workplace experience compared to working from home, particularly for younger workers.
Mr Sunak said, “You can’t beat the spontaneity, the team building, the culture that you create in a firm or an organisation from people actually spending physical time together.” He also warned that staff may “vote with their feet” and quit roles if not given the option to work from an office.
The Chancellor’s comments, though, appear at odds to survey evidence which suggests a majority of office workers would prefer to work remotely. For instance, Nationwide Building Society, which recently unveiled plans to allow office staff to choose where they work, said more than half of its employees expressed a desire to work from home full time when coronavirus restrictions are eased, while over a third would like a mix of home and office-based work.
All details are correct at the time of writing (12 April 2021)