After months of remote work, flexibility is key in return to office
For the past year during the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses have had to change the way they operate. For many companies, a relationship of trust born from necessity has been forged between employers and members of staff, allowing for a new approach to the working week.
Once busy offices became ghost towns and the so-called ‘new normal’ set in as people adjusted to working from home. But with a successful vaccine rollout and low Covid-19 infection numbers, office workers are returning to their office desks.
For some, however, a flexible work style works better, and companies are now embracing this offering built on this relationship of trust.
Accounting firm PwC Gibraltar recently informed its complement of 80 members of staff of changes that will allow “greater flexibility for post-pandemic working”.
“Called Empowered Flexibility, the announcement reflects the firm’s commitment to supporting its people and responding to changing working patterns accelerated by Covid-19,” PwC Gibraltar said in a statement.
“The changes will help embed a hybrid working model and align with PwC’s long-term Net Zero commitment.”
It said that these new working arrangements are part of a workforce framework “built on two-way flexibility and trust” to meet the needs of the team, clients and the firm.
The PwC team were offered three key elements, including an “empowered day” which allows them to decide the most effective working pattern on any given day such as starting earlier and finishing earlier; the flexibility to continue working from home with an expectation to spend a minimum of 60% of their time with colleagues, either at the office or the client sites.
In addition, the firm is continuing with its commitment to a 3.30pm finish time over 13 weeks during the summer.
Colin Vaughn, PwC Gibraltar’s Chairman and Territory Senior Partner, said he hopes this announcement “makes flexible working much more the norm rather than the exception”, with the aim to help his team feel “trusted and empowered”.
“These changes are in direct response to soundings from our people, who’ve said they value a mix of working from home and in the office,” Mr Vaughn said.
“We want to help enshrine new working patterns so they outlast the pandemic.”
“Without conscious planning now, there’s a risk we lose the best bits of these new ways of working as we transition to the new normal.”
“The future of work is changing at such a pace we have to evolve continually how we do things to meet the needs of our people and our clients.”
Barry Pillans, PwC Gibraltar’s Human Capital Leader, said that while not everyone is able to work flexibly all of the time, the company wants to make it as easy as possible when they can.
“From discussions with our people and clients, we believe these changes will make a real difference, helping support greater work life balance and giving our people more confidence to work flexibly,” he said.
Access to the internet, a laptop and a mobile phone are the three essential needs for people working remotely, with some people choosing to work from other jurisdictions.
Other companies based in Gibraltar are offering their people the ability to work for 90 days a year from anywhere, with some members of staff taking up the opportunity to work remotely.
Nigel Birrell, CEO of Lottoland, told the Chronicle: “Now that life is getting back to normal, Lottoland are continuing to maintain flexible working; offering our people the ability to work for 90 days a year from anywhere as long as, this works with their team and role."
"We understand the importance of flexibility and want to offer our staff the best solutions for them and their unique situations."
"Furthermore, the last 12 months has proven that our people are just as productive wherever they work, and this has continued to shift and expand mindsets across our business," Mr Birrell added.
"For example, we’ve seen more of our hiring managers embrace completely remote roles, which has enabled us to secure great talent and expand diversity in a short space of time."