Round-Up: Workplace Intentions 2021

So many organisations have publicly disclosed their future ways of working intentions and it would seem that Hybrid Working has become all about the use of space, rather than about culture, ways of working and employee experience. From memory of reading so many articles, the only organisation to discuss their culture/values/behaviours was Goldman Sachs, and that was not exactly out of choice.

Picking up on the theme of one of my previous blogs here is a round-up of business intentions in relation to future working patterns. I’ve also included a long list of news headlines further down the blog too – enjoy!

Hybrid working isn’t about the same cultures, behaviours and experiences but working in a different location. Hybrid working needs:

  • Trust and empowerment – to enable people to make there own informed choice of where/how they work depending on the task being completed.
  • Listening and communication.
  • Spaces to bring people together – to connect and build a sense of belonging.
  • Technology to enable mobility, collaboration and work to get done.
  • Continued opportunities for people to learn and be mentored.
  • A mindset shift: work isn’t where you go, it is what you do. The physical space should be a destination people want to go to, not forced to go to.
  • Human Leadership to be attentive to employee wellbeing.
  • Change Management to ensure hearts and minds across the organisation are on the same journey.
  • Data in relation to intended behaviours versus actual behaviours.
  • Knowledge/Task workers: Ensure clarity about each of the job roles involved to help people decide which tasks are best suited to which environment.
  • Support Services: FM / HR / IT / the Exec all need to talk to each other and work together to drive employee experience and enable people to achieve their potential.
  • Evolution – Measure, refine, deliver, repeat. Focus on continuous improvement and the marginal gains.

Hybrid working isn’t for everybody, there isn’t a right answer or one right approach, only right questions to ask:

  • How do your people want to work?
  • Why do your people work? Who is the end customer? When do they need your services?
  • What’s working what’s not?
  • How do we create a fulfilling and equitable experience for all?
  • How do you foster a culture in which leaders see it as their responsibility to design and execute social-connectivity practices for their teams?
  • When employees work remotely, how do you replicate the ad hoc, serendipitous encounters with colleagues who work on the same team or were once down the hallway?
  • How do you maintain team cohesion when some people are working remotely while others are onsite?
  • What steps should you take to help employees manage the blurring of work-life boundaries and the cognitive overload from being digitally engaged all day?
  • What benefits, incentives, and structures might you put in place to encourage well-being?
  • What digital tools do employees need in a non-office-centric workplace—particularly to support collaborative tasks?
  • What role does the company play in either providing the physical tools and equipment needed to work from home, such as external monitors and ergonomic chairs, or compensating employees so that they can purchase them?
  • When part of the team is in the office and part of it is at home, how do you develop norms to ensure that everyone feels included?
  • What does our organisation want and need to use the office for?

We’ve been presented with a once in a lifetime opportunity to reimagine work and the workplace, we need to grab hold of it tight, take the learnings and focus on the recovery. Our people need our focus to enable them to recover from what, for so many has been a traumatic and stressful period. Hybrid is good for the people therefore it’s good for the business.

We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to make genuine change, on a global scale, in the words of Ru Paul…

Physically distant, emotionally connected, just keep going!



Here are some key headlines from 2021 so far:

5th January 2021: Dropbox, WeWork, and Google all think they have the playbook for the part-time office

7th January: Sky Bet ‘promotes’ WFH hybrid with new office design

7th January: Two thirds of FS employees want hybrid working after pandemic

9th January: See the unusual new office design that Deloitte and KPMG are exploring

19th January: AXA deploys global “smart working strategy”

21st January: Aviva to close offices in hybrid working plan

31st January: Never Want To Go Back To The Office? Here’s Where You Should Work

3rd February: Whether it’s flexible working or the four-day week, the pandemic is opening minds to new ways of doing business

4th February: KPMG considers cutting office space as part of WFH plans

4th February: Revolut announces a permanent move to flexible working

10th February: Salesforce Says ‘9-To-5 Workday Is Dead’ And Employees Will Only Come Into The Office One To Three Days A Week

11th February: Salesforce to reduce office footprint permanently

12th February: City centre housing rents fall as tenants move to suburbs

15th February: Spotify to employees: If you want to work from another country, go for it

19th February: Dropbox takes $400m hit after move to sublease office space

22nd February: The ‘Hybrid Model’ Of Working Remotely And In The Office Could Create Big Expenses For Companies And Give Rise To Two Classes Of Employees

23rd February: Vodafone aims to access ‘wider talent pool’ with remote summer internship

23rd February: HSBC to slash post-Covid office space by 40% as profits drop by a third

24th February: Lloyds to axe a fifth of office space

24th February: Schneider Electric Offers Employees Workplace Flexibility

24th February: You May Be Tired Of ‘Agile,’ But It’s The Only Way To Make Hybrid Work

24th February: Why the future of work will look like a video game

25th February: Goldman Sachs: Bank boss rejects work from home as the ‘new normal’

9th March: Hybrid working will become the norm

20th March: Companies wrestle with hybrid working plans – awkward meetings and midweek crowding

21st March: Iconic American Automaker Ford Motor Says Employees Can Work From Home ‘Indefinitely’ With Its Newly Redesigned Hybrid In-Office And Remote Model

22nd March: Call to make remote working UK default to help levelling up

22nd March: A&O predicts ‘considerable’ reduction in office space

22nd March: Aegis expands office space for post-Covid return to work

23rd March: The future of work? It’s a hybrid experience


24th March: Only 30pc of CEOs considering hybrid working, says KPMG study

25th March: Nationwide tells 13,000 staff to work anywhere

25th March: ‘Zoom-free Fridays’ and hybrid working on the way for Citi

26th March: People may quit if forced to work from home, Rishi Sunak warns

29th March: FTSE 100 firms share latest London office plans following WFH year, with many set to embrace flexible working

31st March: PWC announces post-covid hybrid working strategy

31st March: Q Financial Services to open new Shrewsbury office as part of expansion

1st April: Google rejigs remote working as it reopens offices

2nd April: 80% IBM Employees Will Work Only 3-Days/Week In Office! Hybrid Work Model On Full Force

5th April: Whitehall agrees deal to set up hybrid offices as civil servants push to keep remote working

7th April: Over a quarter of C-suites say their hybrid work model won’t be ready until 2022

7th April: Government leases office space around the country to support hybrid working

8th April: JP Morgan cuts office space and warns of Brexit relocation

8th April: Axa IM places €800m bet on return to the office in Europe

8th April: JLL to Lease Flagship UK Office at 1 Broadgate

9th April: Taylor Wessing becomes latest UK firm to plan Ireland expansion following EU exit

9th April: How to avoid turning staff into lab rats in a hybrid work experiment

12th April: It will give structure to the day – Goldman Sachs staff return to London Offices



13th April: Goldman Sachs leads ‘great return’ to offices in central London

13th April: Goldman Sachs to open Birmingham office in tech push

13th April: Boohoo buys London office for £72m

15th April: Hybrid working is changing real estate

15th April: Uber Expects Employees to Return to Office by September 13

15th April: Hybrid working to become the norm for FTSE 250 companies

16th April: Hybrid working risks becoming a meaningless term

18th April: Survey Shows Over 60% Of Executives Don’t Have A Solid Plan In Place As Employees Are Expected To Soon Return To The Office

18th April: Almost one in four want to work from home forever

19th April: Hybrid working may change contractual terms and conditions for employees

19th April: HSBC CEO Calls For Ditching Posh Executive Offices For Hot Desks And A Hybrid Work Model

19th April: Why 2021 Will Be the Year of Work From Anywhere

19th April: Facebook: Our staff can carry on working from home after Covid

19th April: HSBC bosses are forced to hot desk after bank scrapped executive floor of its Canary Wharf HQ as it cuts back office space amid Covid pandemic

19th April: Hines instructs leasing agents for new flagship office scheme in Covent Garden

20th April: Bristol office building Hanover House attracts new occupier

20th April: Bank of Ireland unveils hybrid working model

20th April: Kreston Reeves commits to hybrid working

20th April: Businesses ‘out of touch’ with staff on hybrid working issue

20th April: City law firms push ahead with return to office plans

20th April: Back to the Office: How Employers are Splashing the Cash to Get People Back to Work

20th April: Two-thirds of London workers want return to office


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