Greggs has become the latest business to say it will not expect staff to continue coming to its head office five days a week, offering a flexible working model instead.
Chief executive Roger Whiteside told the PA news agency: “My view is that what we’ve seen in Covid is an acceleration of the trend we’ve identified before Covid – more flexible working.”
He added: “I’m in the hybrid camp. I genuinely think that most people, given the option, will try and be more flexible around their work to build it around their lives as well as their commitment in the office.
“We’ve got an office with 500 people but we don’t expect there to be 500 people in it on any one day ever again, except for maybe when we call them all together for a communication exercise.”
The boss’s comments follow those of Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey, who said on Monday that he believes office workers are unlikely to return to five days a week in offices.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I think there will be for many people more of a hybrid model of working at home and working in a place of work… I would be very surprised if we went back to exactly as we were before Covid.”
Mr Whiteside added that the trends to home working had been there for several years, but the Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the change.
He said: “It’s no surprise. It’s obviously been forced on us because of Covid but all the things we’ve seen in Covid including home working is a trend that was there to be seen beforehand.”
The boss added he did not believe the shift in work habits would impact Greggs – including lunchtime crowds – pointing out that stores will be opened wherever there are customers.
He said: “City centres are both office working locations and shopping locations and therefore you might expect, as we have seen over time, less footfall in city centres as people spend less time in city centres.
“But is the lesson of Covid ‘Do you know what, what I think I’ll do is I’ll just spend all my time at home?’. No, clearly it isn’t.
“They’re just going to do different things with their time if they’re not required to go to the office and not required to go shopping. Wherever they go to do those other things, there will be a Greggs. That’s the plan.”
The announcement follows similar moves by BP, which told 25,000 staff around the world that they will be expected to work from home for two days per week.
HSBC also revealed last month it plans to cut 40% of its office by adopting a more flexible work policy, with similar moves by Lloyds Bank and British Gas owner, Centrica, telling staff they will not need to be in the office five days a week.