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3 months ago

Back to the Office for Boots Amid WFH Shift

In a significant policy shift, Boots has told its head office employees that they expect them to return to the office five days a week starting in September. The move aims to enhance engagement and collaboration among its workforce. It marks a reversal of the health and beauty giant's previous hybrid working model, which allowed for three days of remote work.

The new policy affects London, Nottingham and Weybridge workers, impacting around 8,000 of the company's 52,000-strong workforce. Boots emphasised the value it puts on in-person collaboration, citing the importance of ‘team spirit’.

UK Managing Director Seb James said: “I have been very heartened by the way people have embraced the three-days-a-week model, and I think you will agree that the office is a much more fun and inspiring place on those days.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the informal conversations, brief catch-ups and ability to meet in groups in person have been far more effective – and better for the Boots culture than the enforced formality of remote meetings. I know that has been true for me.”

Boots plans to upgrade its offices in the coming months, focusing on creating more quiet spaces, improving wifi connectivity and enhancing canteen facilities to provide a more comfortable working environment.

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Food for Thought

As larger corporations like Boots transition back to on-site work, small business owners face decisions regarding their workforce structure. Here are some considerations for SMEs evaluating working arrangements:

Employee Preferences

Understand the personal preferences and productivity levels of your employees. Some may thrive in their home's comfortable and quiet environment, while others may value the social aspects of working together on-site. Striking a balance accommodating different personalities can contribute to overall job satisfaction.

Necessary Tech

Ensure your business has the infrastructure to support remote work or hybrid models. Simple communication tools, secure networks and collaboration platforms are all good ways to maintain seamless operations.

Company Culture

Consider the impact of different working arrangements on your workplace culture. Depending on your business's unique dynamics, building a strong sense of community and camaraderie may require a combination of in-person interactions and virtual communication.

Flexibility and Agility

Remember to be adaptable in your approach. Your business and employees' needs will likely evolve, so be prepared to adjust your working arrangements to accommodate unexpected circumstances.

By carefully weighing these factors, business owners can make informed decisions aligning with their company's goals and team's preferences.

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Sam White