Financial TimesFinancial Times

Employers and staff seek truce on office working

By Emma Jacobs and Andrew Hill

10 Sep 2023 · 6 min read

When videoconferencing specialist Zoom called staff back to the office last month, it was widely interpreted as the disintegration of the remote work experiment. The pro-office message, four years after the pandemic triggered a white-collar retreat, was seized on by Elon Musk, who described it as morally wrong for “laptop classes living in la-la-land” to work from home. Amazon is tracking attendance and emails staff who fail to attend three days a week, while Google says absence will affect staff performance reviews. In the UK, banks including Lloyds Banking Group, Citi and HSBC, have taken the September cue to tighten their in-office mandates.

But even as some employers take a more aggressive approach to forcing staff back to the office, the latest data shows the picture on working patterns is more nuanced. Even after its clampdown, Zoom only requires two days in the office, while most other companies with office staff expect to retain a component of remote working.

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