A worker walks past a store clerk as he walks towards the financial district in the City of London during the morning rush hour in London, UK, September 8, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

London/New York: Finance bosses are offering more incentives like free meals, table tennis and ‘meditation spaces’ as they struggle to get their employees back in the office. Meanwhile, concerns about the cost and value of commuting are putting pressure on people to go to work around the world.

Hybrid work policies have been introduced across industries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers accustomed to pocketing the cost of commuting also pose a challenge to employers to make office work more attractive as spending on things like fuel and food rises rapidly.

Kathryn Wilde, CEO of The Partnership for New York City, cites perks ranging from free meals to improved social spaces with ping-pong tables, saying, “Employers are making their offices more attractive. We’ve put a lot of effort into making it purposeful,” he told Reuters. .

However, a global survey of nearly 80,000 employees by consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) showed that employees were not adhering to hybrid work policies.

AWA found that if an organization has a policy requiring 2, 2, 3, or 3 days in the office, attendance is 1.1 days, 1.6 days, and 2.1 days, respectively.

“When lockdowns lifted and restrictions eased, people tried to get into the office…and when they got there they realized all they were doing was Zoom calls. AWA managing director Andrew Mawson said.

“People stopped going to the office because they got used to a lifestyle and cost structure that worked for them,” he said.

Kelly Bieber, CEO of the UK and Ireland sector at pollster Ipsos, said senior managers may be the most stuck at home.

“We found that some of them had no patience for the frustration of a small office, or felt that traveling to the office was an unnecessary burden…but they missed networking. I will,” she said.

office as hotel

Young staff in the financial industry are concerned about how remote work will affect their career progression, but job seekers often cite it as a preference.
Since the beginning of August, 80% of people looking for finance jobs on Flexa, a global online platform that allows users to search for roles based on their flexible working preferences, have said that they are either ‘remote’ or ‘remote first’. specified role preferences. A Flexa spokesperson said the number has increased since March.

Peter Hogg, city director at London property consultancy Arcadis, said employees still have a lot of influence.

“It’s a risky strategy for companies to be too prescriptive in terms of telling people what they should do,” said Hogg.

The consulting firm is now busy helping companies “remodel” their offices, making changes such as adding “meditative spaces” such as indoor gardens, libraries and furnished informal areas. I’m here.

According to Leeson Medhurst, strategy director at Peldon Rose, which designs corporate offices, a UK-based trading firm has provided showers, nap spaces, They started offering laundry facilities.

“Our clients said, ‘We’re going to look at our office as a hotel.’ They’re serving the needs of the employees, not necessarily the financial needs of the company,” he said. Told.

The City of London Corporation, which runs the financial district, announced in August that it had hired curators for its “Destination City” program to develop events such as theatre, games and live performances.

UK bank Aldermore Chief Executive Stephen Cooper told Reuters his bank was encouraging staff to return to the office without returning to pre-pandemic standards.

The bank is considering hiring a concierge to help employees manage routine errands like dry cleaning in the office, he said.

Those most resistant to returning to the office are those who have moved to the suburbs and have long commutes, says Wilde’s partnership in New York City, but younger staff are the most likely to return.

“Young people realize that their career advancement depends on their relationships in the office,” said Wilde.

“Lonely Home Silo”

Wall Street’s largest financial firms are the most aggressive in bringing employees back to the office.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. last June called for workers to return to the office full-time. Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan are all but back, but Citi has a hybrid deal.

Jefferies Financial Group on Thursday wants to move staff back to offices rather than “silos of lonely homes,” despite working on a hybrid basis.

Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley said they would lift some pandemic-era protocols in early September, including mask-wearing and coronavirus testing in offices, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

In March, JP Morgan made masks optional in its headquarters building and ended mandatory testing for unvaccinated employees. The largest US bank has also withdrawn its policy of hiring only vaccinated individuals.

Chris Gardner, co-CEO of London-based real estate finance firm Atelier, said that with Britain’s weakening economy and rising energy costs, people worried about layoffs should pay for free jobs. He said he was more likely to return to the office sooner than snacks and other incentives.

“Predictably, when things tighten up later in the year, presenteeism and prominence in the office will become more important,” he said.

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