Thousands of Lloyds staff are still working from home and the likelihood is that this is going to continue well into next year. Has the novelty worn off? Are you suffering from ‘Zoom fatigue’? Are you desperate to get back to the office to see friends and colleagues? Is the ‘optional office’, which staff attend but less frequently than they do now, the future for Lloyds? Is the ‘hybrid office’, where staff split their time between home, a local office and their main office, the answer? In Germany for example, who seem to have managed the pandemic much better than us, 74% of office workers are back at their offices but only half of them are there five days week.

In a letter to the Economist, one business owner said recently: “I am aiming for 100% efficiency and effectiveness. Do you really think I should accept less than this so my staff don’t have to travel to work?” He went on to say: “At home, the instant you walk away from your computer you are surrounded by your home life and your mind will be engaged with family and domesticity”. These are deep philosophical questions but is that a bad thing and does being surrounded by home life make you less effective and efficient? Can you have both, in the ‘new normal’?

Incidentally, I’m writing this having just heard that Sir Roger Penrose has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on black holes. It turns out that that his idea for proving that the formation of black holes is an inevitable consequence of Einstein’s general theory of relativity came to him whilst crossing the road with a colleague on his way to work in London. Would that ‘Eureka’ moment have come to him whilst sat at home.

We are updating our last survey to see whether staff attitudes to home working have changed since March. It will be sent to members in the next few days. The aim is to shape the bank’s policies for the future on this important issue and to learn the lessons from this massive experiment because, whatever happens next, working for Lloyds is going to be different.

The results of the survey will be published in a series of Newsletters over the next few weeks.

Members with any questions on this survey (but not on general relativity) should contact the Union’s Advice Team on 01234 262868 (choose Option 1).

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