Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Braving the Back-To-Office Trend: Which Companies Are Returning to the Workplace?

Whilst COVID-19 forced many businesses to temporarily shut and work from home where possible some have now started to plan their strategy for returning to the workplace – PM Boris Johnson claiming that an economic recovery will “Unquestionably […] require people to have the confidence to go back to work in a Covid-secure way.”

Reports from the London First findings reveal that three-quarters of London firms have begun to introduce small numbers of staff back into their offices. 

Businesses throughout the U.K. have claimed that they intend to introduce staff back to the workplace from September onwards, however, due to safety measures the number of staff returning would be kept at a low capacity. 

Of companies that are planning a return to work in the near, if not immediate, future include the following:

For The Bank of England, the majority of their staff have worked from home throughout the pandemic, the Bank of England have begun introducing more staff back into the workspace, governor Andrew Bailey recently stating to reporters “It’s up to a few hundred now” and further that “we’ll keep it under constant review, that’s our position. I just would say, I’m very keen obviously that all of us get back to normality as soon as we safely can.”

At national bank, HSBC in Canary Wharf, have stated that they would not be introducing staff back into the office “before September 2020 at the earliest”. In addition to this, it has also been reported that the limit of those returning to the workspace at HSBC’s office will be 20%, staff returning “on a phased basis” and in line with social distancing and safety measures. 

Some companies such as Facebook have confirmed that they will not be returning to the offices until June 2021, unless stated otherwise. Some large finance companies have been running a gradual return to the office, including Non Standard Finance and MT Finance.

JP Morgan are another company whereby the majority of their UK staff have also been working from home throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The firm is reported to be slowly welcoming staff back, however on a purely voluntary basis. 

This introduction aims to gradually work up to filling 50% of the buildings’ capacity, all staff within the communal areas of the workspace required to wear face masks – exceptions being made at their desks which have been spaced out.

Lloyd’s of London shut down its underwriting room in east London in light of the pandemic, however they have plans to reopen in September, with various COVID-related safety measures put in place. The room’s capacity will now be lowered to 45%, whilst clear screens will be installed onto the desks in the workspace.