Rishi Sunak warns workers could 'vote with their feet' and quit jobs if offices don't reopen


Rishi Sunak warns workers could ‘vote with their feet’ and quit jobs if they are not allowed to return to the office after lockdown as he praises ‘culture’ of people ‘riffing off each other’

  • Companies are looking at how to tackle issue of remote versus office working
  • Chancellor said workplaces encourage ‘meetings that happen by chance’ 
  • Also played up impact of ‘people riffing off each other’ when working together

Workers could ‘vote with their feet’ and quit their jobs if they are not allowed to return to the office, Rishi Sunak has warned.

The Chancellor said that sitting with colleagues in the workplace encourages ‘meetings that happen by chance’ and ‘people riffing off each other’.

He has urged businesses which have benefited from the pandemic to help fuel the economic recovery by investing and hiring.

Companies across the UK are looking at how to tackle the issue of remote versus office working once lockdown ends, with many backing a hybrid model.

Mr Sunak last week admitted that working from home was ‘probably’ here to stay – at least part-time. 

But in a joint interview with the Daily Telegraph and the Sun today, he touted the benefits of the physical workplace, saying the opportunities afforded in an office cannot be beaten.

The Chancellor said that sitting with colleagues in the workplace encourages 'meetings that happen by chance' and 'people riffing off each other'.

The Chancellor said that sitting with colleagues in the workplace encourages ‘meetings that happen by chance’ and ‘people riffing off each other’.

Companies across the UK are looking at how to tackle the issue of remote versus office working once lockdown ends, with many backing a hybrid model.

Companies across the UK are looking at how to tackle the issue of remote versus office working once lockdown ends, with many backing a hybrid model.

‘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 said.

Young people reaped the benefits of proximity to experienced mentors when working in an office, he added.

‘Imagine you’ve just left college or university you start this job in a big company and you’re sitting at home on your own.

‘How do you get to know your peers, how do you learn the culture of an organisation, how do you get those mentors, which are important for your career development?’

He warned that if companies decide to get rid of their offices their staff might ‘vote with their feet’ and join competitors who allow them to attend work in-person.

But he recognised that programmes like Zoom mean there should be ‘some extra flexibility’ for those who still want to work from home and said hybrid models could suit both staff and businesses.

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