Most employers want their workforces back in the office, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)’s director-general.
Tony Danker thinks that, as a result of the pandemic, the “whole world of work” had “gone crazy”, he told Nick Robinson on the BBC’s Political Thinking podcast.
He said: “You ask most bosses, everybody secretly wants everyone to come back into the office.”
However, Danker, who heads up the CBI representing 190,000 businesses, believes that the conversation around working patterns will continue for a few years and has no idea where it will end up.
He explained: “I just don’t think that’s going to happen overnight. I think we are all coping with this….but we’re going to be talking about this for a few years.”
The issue of flexible working is currently a hot topic, with the movement gaining momentum since the start of the pandemic but some organisations now want people back in the office. Many companies are insisting their employees return to the workplace five days a week, while others have adopted a long-term hybrid working model and some have embraced full-time home working arrangements.
Danker added: “We are going to work with companies to make sure that they can bring you health support and wraparound care to absorb yourself back into work.”
Following the comments, a CBI spokesperson said: “The world of work has changed and there’s no going back to the exact patterns that existed before the pandemic. One of the key lessons has been that there’s no perfect ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to how and where individuals work best – the optimum mix will be different for different sectors, firms and individuals. Flexible working offers many benefits, not least maximising the potential talent pool available to firms and helping businesses to build diverse and inclusive workforces.
“But there are also many advantages to in-person working. These include collaboration and fostering team culture; on-the-job development and coaching; and creating more streamlined approaches to problem-solving.”