BOE Said to Drop Policy on Staff Returning to Office Once a Week
The Bank of England has reversed a policy encouraging staff to return to the office at least one day a week, a person familiar with the matter said.
In July, the central bank’s Chief Operating Officer Joanna Place announced the BOE would be rolling-out a return-to-office pilot program that would encourage regular “team days” in the office. The return was scheduled to start in September to allow for more staff to be vaccinated and for the summer holidays to be completed.
But the central bank has now told staff that there is no longer an expectation to come in and that they can choose to return on a voluntary basis, according to the person, who didn’t want to be identified discussing internal policy. The bank decided to ease the return-to-office policy because of a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the U.K., the person said.
Authorities announced last week that the U.K. had seen the most deaths and hospitalizations from Covid-19 since early March. Cases, propelled by the delta variant, have surged in the U.K. over the summer period. That’s despite nearly 80% of the population over the age of 16 having had two doses of the vaccine.
Place had said that she anticipated over time that staff would average about three to four days in the office a week.
“My own personal view is that the pull of the office might be a bit bigger than we anticipate,” she said in a July speech. The Mail on Sunday was first to report on the central bank’s change of plan.
The Bank of England isn’t alone in delaying return-to-office plans in light of the rapidly spreading delta variant. Last month, Apple Inc. said it was delaying its plan until January at the earliest, following Lyft Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., among others.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.