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Flexible Working Policies As Important as Salary, Says HSBC

Flexible Working Policies As Important as Salary, Says HSBC
08 October 2021

Research from HSBC shows that an organisation’s approach to flexible working is on par with salary when it comes to employee priorities.

HBSC’s study of over 2,100 business leaders from ten global markets, showed that UK businesses identified flexible working (35 per cent) and salary (35 per cent) to be equally important factors when attracting and retaining staff.

32 per cent said that full flexibility is the optimal working environment and 26 per cent want employees to be in the office 4 days a week.

HSBC stated over the summer that their staff are never returning full time to the office. Recently, the right to request flexible working was made a legal right from day one of employment in the UK.

Roland Emmans, Technology Sector Head, HSBC UK, commented to Business Leader magazine: “It’s clear that employees are increasingly expecting flexibility to be the norm. As competition for talent intensifies, companies need to look beyond tactical delivery – such as increased connectivity and communications technologies – and embed enhanced flexible working practices to keep their workforce engaged and productive.

“Businesses leaders who want to innovate, thrive and grow need to ‘relearn’ what work looks like so that they can drive their company culture remotely and push their business forward. Businesses are already talking to us about investing in tools that enhance virtual collaboration, wellbeing and engagement to ensure they are attracting and retaining the best possible talent and providing increased access to new and more diverse talent pools.”





PM Wants Workers Back in Offices


In a speech at the Conservative Party’s annual conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s encouragement for getting workers back into bricks and mortar offices was clear:

“As we come out of COVID, our towns and cities are again going to be buzzing with life because we know that a productive workforce needs that spur that only comes with face to face meetings and water cooler gossip.

“If young people are to learn on the job in the way that they always have and must, we will and must see people back in the office.”


“Boris, I’m afraid the Genie is out of the bottle. Regardless of your ‘instruction’ to go back to the office many people and organisations have discovered the potency and efficacy of their new virtual lives.”

–Andrew Mawson

Director, Advanced Workplace Associates


Andrew Mawson, one of the founding directors of global consultancy Advanced Workplace Associates (AWA) feels that such a call is too late, given that businesses have reaped the rewards of hybrid working:

“The truth is that the COVID-19 has given people an insight into a different life  - one with potentially less travel, greater flexibility and a far better work-life balance. Of course, the experience people have had varies depending upon home facilities, personality, job and social needs, but for the majority the upside of less office time is pretty clear. Yes, we’re hearing of ‘Zoom Burnout’ and of course, people are yearning for social ‘face to face in the same place’ contact. But that can be fixed by organisations and employees shifting to new ways of managing their time and affairs. 

“From a business standpoint leaders are seeing their businesses seeing reduced facilities costs and a reduced carbon footprint with no negative impact on the quality and quantity of work produced. Not surprisingly they are seriously wondering whether they can run their businesses in ‘virtual’ - or largely ‘virtual’ mode for the long term.

“Boris, I’m afraid the Genie is out of the bottle. Regardless of your ‘instruction’ to go back to the office many people and organisations have discovered the potency and efficacy of their new virtual lives.”


Being in the Office is no Guarantee of Productivity”


In response to the Prime Minister’s comments urging a return to workplaces Ben Willmott, head of public policy at the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:

“Being in the office is no guarantee of productivity. To build back better we need a more flexible approach to work.  Employers need to embrace new ways of working that help employees perform at their best. It’s not a case of home or office working, as most people want a combination of both, where this is possible.

“It’s in organisations’ interests to provide more flexible ways of working as it can support their ability to attract and retain a more diverse workforce at a time when many firms are facing skill and labour shortages. Just as importantly, evidence suggests flexible working practices can support the motivation, wellbeing and productivity of workers.

“Being flexible isn’t just about where people work but when and how. We also need employers to provide more flexible hours working arrangements so many more people who can’t work from home can also benefit from more flexibility.

“Organisations must also consider the health and wellbeing of staff as people return to workplaces while COVID cases remain high, through consultation and taking steps to manage risks.”

Picture: a photograph of HSBC's HQ in London. Image Credit: HSBC

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 08 October 2021


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