Major companies prepare for partial return of employees to the office

Many large companies are preparing so that their employees can (continue to) work partly at home and partly at the office after the corona pandemic. This emerges from a tour of companies such as ING, Unilever, Deloitte, KPMG, Aegon and the trade union FNV.

The cabinet is considering partially withdrawing the homework advice from June 26, sources in The Hague report. The cabinet will make a decision on this on Friday.

All companies surveyed also state that they will continue to work from home after the pandemic. It is said that both working methods offer advantages. For example, an ING spokesperson stated: “Working from home sometimes improves concentration, but working at the office promotes collaboration and the creative process”. Aegon also mentions the advantage of working from home that this results in fewer travel movements.

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The extent to which companies want people to return to the office varies. For example, the ING spokesperson says that they expect employees to work in the office 50 percent of the time. The spokesperson for Unilever speaks of 40 percent and Deloitte of two to three days a week.

Fewer workplaces to be able to keep a good distance

The organizations have already made preparations and plans in collaboration with employees, but indicate that these can still be changed. “We have already significantly reduced the number of workplaces,” says the spokesperson for Aegon. “But our plans can always change, because we first have to see what works best in practice”. Unilever also says that plans can always change. “We have to see what will work, nobody knows what the world will look like after corona.”

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Spokespersons for ING, KPMG and Deloitte indicate that internal investigations are still underway to determine what works best. Deloitte investigates, among other things, the best way in which employees can stay in touch with each other. They do this by creating places in the office where employees meet with home workers, such as a coffee corner with a screen.

The FNV also sees that many organizations are talking about hybrid working, says a spokesperson. According to the union, there are few complaints from employees who do not want to return to the office despite the relaxation.

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Employees want to partly continue to work from home

In March, many employees who worked from home indicated that they wanted to partly continue to work from home, reports research agency TNO. “Two-thirds of home workers wanted to continue working partly or largely at home, preferably for about 18 hours a week,” said Karen Oude Hengel, researcher at TNO. “People indicated that tasks could be done well from home and that it saves a lot of travel time”. The main reason for wanting to (partly) return to the office is contact with others.It is more obvious that companies first let groups of employees come back to the office. Adjustments may also need to be made to keep 1,5 meters away.

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The organizations speak of good news for many companies if the homework advice is adjusted on Friday. “Although working from home is generally going well and most people and companies are used to it by now, it certainly has its limitations,” it sounds like.

According to the business organisations, people miss social contact and work processes. Also, not all employees have a good workplace at home. “It will be a blessing for all those people and situations that more becomes possible again,” they say. VNO-NCW and MKB-Nederland also assume that people will work from home more often in the future than was the case before corona.

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Author: Jobly