Rishi Sunak wishes to see young people return to the office, believing that a return to work will be “valuable”.

Speaking to LinkedIn News, Mr Sunak discussed his doubts about whether his career would have been as successful had he began his career virtually.

Mr Sunak said:

I’ve spoken previously about young people in particular benefiting from being in offices: it was really beneficial to me when I was starting out in my career.

The mentors that I found when I first started my job, I still talk to and they’ve been helpful to me all through my career even after we’ve gone in different ways.

Being an alumus of the major investment bank Goldman Sachs, Sunak’s attitude to returning to work is similar to that of the banking industry as a whole, with bankers some of the keenest to see staff return to the office as restrictions ease.

CEO of Goldman Sachs, David Solomon, previously raised concerns about the effects permanent remote working would have on new graduate recruits.

Mr Solomon stated:

I am very focused on the fact that I don’t want another class of young people arriving at Goldman Sachs in the summer remotely.

Since the major lifting of restrictions on 19 July, the government has indicated a preference for a gradual return to work in England.

In contrast, the Scottish government wishes for people to continue to work from home until at least 9 August.

It is also unclear whether employers intend to follow the Government’s plans, with a previous report by Walters People finding that over a fifth of companies state that they are considering a complete move to full-time remote working.

Alongside this, of the professionals surveyed, almost nine in ten (88 percent) wanted to continue to work from home at least half the time post-pandemic.

More recently, research from Citrix has found that 52 percent of European office workers would like a hybrid work model.

Commenting on the findings, Mark Sweeney, regional VP, UK and Ireland, said:

Now that stay-home restrictions have eased and offices can safely reopen, it should be the responsibility of business leaders to ensure employees have choice in whether they return to the office, or not.

Some individuals will not want to go to back the office, for a variety of reasons. As leaders, we need to create a culture that ensures people working remotely some or all of the time, are treated the same as those who go back to the office.

Whilst many recognise the merit in returning to the office, employers are still cautious about returning to the office, and some are unwilling to undo the work they have done over the pandemic to streamline operations.

In response to Sunak’s comments, Sridhar Iyengar, MD, Zoho Europe stated:

Business decision makers will be apprehensive about a 100% return to the old ways, especially now that they have worked hard to streamline remote operations, which in many cases, has proven itself to be a more cost and time efficient alternative to traditional ‘office’ working.

Therefore, businesses should look for the best of both worlds with the alternative – hybrid working, which will see employees return to the office on a part-time basis, from as little as just a few times a month, to multiple times a week, with the rest of work conducted remotely.

This will have the unique benefit of supporting workers, particularly young people, who crave a return to in-person social interactivity, whilst maintaining the flexible remote working arrangement that businesses have grown used to.