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Return to the Office? CIPD urge Business Leaders to be Flexible in Decision Making

Updated: Mar 31

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) prescribes three key tests that urge business leaders to be flexible when bringing people back into the workplace.



As businesses question whether to return to office life, the CIPD have demonstrated their ability to encourage business leaders to be very considered in their decision making approach. The three tests prescribed by the CIPD seem almost too simple at first glance... Is it essential for people to return? Is it safe for people to return? And finally, do employee's agree that they should return?


Safety concerns aside - obviously the office space has to facilitate social distancing and the requisite hygiene practices have to be in place - the test of essentiality is the key factor that should be considered.

The service sector have already been slowly moving towards higher levels of flexibility in work locations and home working, with the pandemic accelerating that evolution. However, some companies may be questioning the potential of permitting higher levels of home working in revenue generating departments given mixed results during the depth of the pandemic.


"With anxiety levels at an all time high, ensuring employees are consulted will drive higher levels of employee engagement and performance in the future."

A greater acceptance of longer term testing is needed in this regard. As the world plunged into the pandemic, the vast majority of companies were left playing catch up, working tirelessly to facilitate their employees ability to work from home. But are the mixed performance results in revenue generating departments the result of a lack of efficiency of teams working from home? Or the result of prospects and customers not being available to permit the normal ebb and flow of sales and portfolio management? To state with any level of certainty whether it is essential that these departments have to work in an office environment, longer term testing of results should be considered.


The question of employees agreeing to a return to the work environment is also of utmost importance. With anxiety levels at an all time high, ensuring employees are not only consulted regarding a workplace return, but giving them the power of veto, is a sure way to demonstrate high levels of employee care that will ultimately drive higher levels of employee engagement and performance in the future.

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