A survey of 94 of Britain’s biggest employers found half planned to keep all staff working remotely for the next few months, while a fifth planned to bring staff back to the office only on a part-time basis. About a fifth planned to bring staff back full time.

The survey of company secretaries across a range of sectors was conducted by the Chartered Governance Institute and The Core Partnership, a governance recruitment specialist.

The “work from home” guidance for the country’s 12 million office workers is due to be relaxed from next week.

Tom Castley, Vice President of Sales at Outreach UK, said: “It should come as no surprise that more than half of office workers will continue to work from home for the rest of the summer. The lockdown has shown that while offices are nice to have, they are not fundamental for the running of many companies. Business leaders should remember post COVID-19 that talent is accessible anywhere, and that includes remote workers. Not all talent is based behind the big city office walls.

“It’s true that a lot of managers prefer to coach their staff in person to help them grow. But in a world obsessed with productivity, we have replaced these moments with more meetings to generate more revenue. Salespeople are now on back-to-back calls with little time to reflect on how they’re doing, let alone learnt from more senior members of the team. This is the perfect recipe for a burnout.

“As a result, companies need to begin implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) which can provide coaching in the moment to staff — wherever they are based. AI can help assess the need of every member of staff, so that managers can coach employees in a meaningful way.

The market is only starting to recover, and businesses around the country have a role to play in driving that recovery further by keeping people in work. Right now, the onus needs to be on retaining existing talent and hiring high potential, low experience employees from wherever they are based, to create a new generation of professionals who will support the British economy during uncertain times and lay a strong foundation for the future. More workers will result in more spend for both B2B and consumer products and services, speeding up the recovery of the country and ensuring we return to growth faster.”

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