Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak reveals his view that permanent remote working will not become a normal part of life after the pandemic, attributing this to humans being “social creatures”.
Speaking on the City AM’s podcast, Rishi Sunak stated his belief that working from home permanently will not be the norm following the pandemic.
As it currently stands, the Government has instructed all England-based employees to “only leave [their] home for work if [they] cannot reasonably work from home”, in line with the newest lockdown restrictions.
Despite this, Mr. Sunak argued that he is “firmly in the camp” of seeing a return, to some extent, of pre-pandemic conditions in terms of a return to the city for employees.
The Chancellor said:
I think it’s just so sad the past few months, when you walk around London, and it would be the same in many cities, and you just see what has happened and the life has disappeared.
Mr. Sunak further added that he is “desperate” for the “vitality and creativity” to come back to cities and he is a “big believer” that it will. He attributed this to his belief that humans are social creatures who crave interaction, “[crave seeing] work colleagues and have that spark of ideas that happens”.
This comes after many firms such as Microsoft, Lloyds Bank and Standard Chartered have chosen to adopt permanent remote working as a long-term policy, even after the conclusion of the pandemic. Many other businesses have decided to adopt a hybrid mode of working, incorporating remote and in-office working.
Additionally on the podcast, when questioned on whether his measures have gone far enough to support businesses, the Chancellor stated that the resilience of UK businesses has given him “hope for the future” and he has admired the ways in which businesses have adapted to the circumstances. He admitted once again that it was impossible for him to save every job but that the various packages offered will make an “enormous difference to many”.