Crisis can be an opportunity for change. Our survey results show that Lloyds should embrace that change when it comes to the future of home working post Covid-19.
As this crisis scythes through the economy, many organisations will be looking to save costs. In Lloyds, Matt Sinnott, People and Property Director (A title that needs to be changed given its antediluvian connotations about people being on a par with property. In the current environment. it’s not appropriate.) recently said: “Changes to the way we work will most likely mean that we need fewer buildings and different types of spaces than we have today”. If having fewer buildings, with more staff working from home helps to mitigate the need for more job losses in Lloyds, that’s to be welcomed. Although driving down costs is now such a corporate fetish in Lloyds that closing more buildings won’t be enough to satisfy some in the bank. McKinsey, a firm of management consultants, recently set out how it was possible for banks to reduce costs by up to 2% by keeping existing remote working options and reducing property portfolios. Lots of companies will already be looking at those options. But costs alone shouldn’t be the only reason for adopting more flexible home working options.
Some members may have seen Dr Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health policy at the LSE, talking on the BBC recently when her young daughter gate crashed the interview by walking into the room wanting to know where to put a family picture frame. But’s that life for many of us now. It just so happens that Dr Wenham, recently wrote an article for the British Medical Journal – “Covid-19 is an opportunity for gender equality within the workplace and at home” – in which she said: “With bosses being able to see into people’s lives, we hope this raises opportunities for flexible working to increase, for recognition of the balance that many perform between paid and unpaid work…….We hope that Covid-19 can be another opportunity for greater gender equality in the workplace. For this to be achieved we need to stop apologising for personal lives, and let’s have more children on conference calls”. The Covid-19 crisis has challenged many traditional norms and we are all going to have to get used to working and behaving differently. When it comes to the world of work that can be a good thing.
Some of the key results from our home working survey are as follows:
- 40% of staff said that they would like to work from home full time. 51% of respondents said they would work from home between 2-3 days a week if given the choice.
- 86% of respondents said their line managers trusted them to work from home. In the past one of the barriers to more home working has been senior managers who only value presenteeism. The pandemic has forced those managers to change their views. Going forward managers will have to get better at judging productivity by setting and monitoring specific goals rather than using the proxy of office attendance.
- The Google Covid-19 Community Mobility Report, April 2020, said that 90% of its staff were working remotely, with only a limited impact on productivity. McKinsey recently reported that: “The speed of decision making and delivery has accelerated in most banks, with many building new digital capabilities in weeks instead of months”. In Lloyds, 40% of staff felt they were more productive whilst working from home compared to the office, with 45% saying their productivity was the same. And 92% of Lloyds staff said they had the self-discipline to work productively at home.
- 75% of staff said they were working more than 7 hours per day. Although, anecdotal evidence confirms that staff had significantly more flexibility in determining when they worked those hours, it’s still a cause of concern. One of the potential downsides of more home working is that employees spend more hours working. If home working is going to work in the long-term then line managers need to avoid the 8 am Zoom meeting or the 9pm messages. We will be undertaking more research on this issue.
- 71% of Lloyds staff said they were saving up to £500 per month by working from home.
- 64% of respondents said overall their wellbeing (stress levels, sleeping and exercise) was much better working from home. 65% said they felt healthier; 52% exercised more and 53% said they were happier working from home.
- But it’s not all sweetness and light. 53% of respondents said they miss the buzz of going into the office and 45% said they sometimes felt lonely working from home.
‘TWO PENSIONS OSORIO’ EXITS THE BUILDING
Following the announcement that Mr Antonio Horta-Osorio would be leaving Lloyds Banking Group – which we will cover in more detail in a separate Newsletter – there will be no Group Strategic Review 4. Instead, the Group are undertaking a one-year review – SR21 – with details being announced later in the year.
We will keep members informed of developments.
Members with any comments or issues, they would like us to deal with should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).