Business

BT asks employees to return to the office

BT asks employees to return to the office

BT is asking employees to return to the office three days a week because it is “essential to business success,” the latest reference to a backlash from the board of directors against working from home.

CEO Philip Janssen told thousands of employees he would switch to a new “working smart” approach of “three together, two anywhere”.

Those unwilling to accept the new terms could face disciplinary action, according to The Register, a tech news site, which first reported the change.

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The decision is the latest example of growing concern among large companies about the impact of flexible full-time work on productivity.

In an email, Mr. Jansen said: “We believe in being together. This means that most of our fellow office workers get together at least three days a week at the workplace, or with clients.

“By working remotely, we have lost that deep connection that we only get from being together — with each other or with our clients — so often: the spontaneous conversations, the creative work, the building of deep human relationships that inspire amazing things for our clients.”

“I know this will not suit everyone’s individual preferences, but the entire executive team believes it is fundamental to the success of our business.”

The move comes as disagreement over how best to operate in the post-pandemic era is creating tensions between managers and their employees.

The New York Times is among companies facing a backlash over their return to office work after workers who were expecting wage increases were offered free branded lunch boxes.

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More than 1,200 New York Times employees represented by the NewsGuild of New York revolted against the newspaper this week by refusing entry, echoing protests around the world as employees demand the right to continue working remotely.

Meanwhile, law firm Stephenson Harwood has told its employees they will be allowed to work from home, but only if they take a 20% pay cut.

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