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28 November 2021

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

News impacting business from Adrian Leopard & Company - Insolvency Practioners & Mediators

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Working at home? Knock on effect now becoming clearer
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Working at home? Knock on effect now becoming clearer

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Just eliminating the stress of travelling could have major benefits

So many of our ingrained habits changed during the covid lockdown and one of those was that people were actually instructed to work at home where they could rather than going into their places of work.

Surprisingly, this plan worked rather well and employers and employees alike found that there were benefits to this and that it was entirely possible to work from home and yet deliver. Of course this has not proved to be case in every instance at all; some firms have concluded that it does not help their business model but many have and they intend to retain it.

By the same token, many people who now work from home are looking to buy bigger and better houses out in the country to work from and of course this is all part of getting a better standard of life.

When the lockdown took effect and people started to stay at home, this caused considerable problems for shops offering fast food for lunch in cities where traditionally office workers have gone to get their sandwiches and other goodies. What has now proved to be the case is that this type of business has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels and this means loss of profits.

One well known company, Pret-a-Manger, has felt this loss particularly badly and as a result has taken steps to reduce its costs and one of these is a reduction in staff pay which was implemented during the lockdown and is now to remain. Basically the company decided to stop paying the staff during their breaks last September and has now decided to make that arrangement permanent.

Whether removal of a “perk” like this can be done is an interesting one. It probably comes down to whether it is a perk or has become an established part of the employees’ pay and conditions. There is talk of a staff strike and it is quite possible that we shall be hearing more about this in due course. But it is quite simply one of the effects of the pandemic, workers now continuing to work from home and of course therefore not needing to go to the shops for lunch. This is probably a permanent change in the way our society operates and is likely to become one of the facets of new normal.

The idea can be a good one for employers as it enables them to look at reducing salaries. Staff who stay at home can make massive savings on travelling to work, eating out at lunch time and it will give staff a certain flexibility in many instances they will not get at work. Not all jobs lend themselves to working home but many do. Workers can benefit from the reduction in costs and the flexibility and the saving in time as well travelling so it is a win win situation but then there is the snare of facing a possible pay reduction but hopefully one which is less than the overall savings achieved.

It has also been reported that Google is planning pay cuts in the US for staff who want to work from home but this is not yet intended to be rolled out in the UK.

The full picture will not be seen for some while yet as the pandemic continues to rage on and there will be those who do not consider it sufficiently safe to go back to working in their offices because of the risk of picking up covid on the way. We shall see better what will happen once the new cases numbers drop and things start to settle down on a more permanent basis. It might also help to take some of the pressure off the rather over-crowded public transport system.

Adrian Leopard 12-08-21

Photo Will H McMahan

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Adrian Leopard & Company is the trading name of Alderney Offshore Ltd, a company registered in Alderney, Channel Islands number 1220.

Address P O Box 1027, Alderney GY9 3AS

Registered Office Seldomin, Longis Road, Alderney GY9 3YB.

Adrian Leopard & Co is represented in the UK by 3CL (UK) Ltd trading as Adrian Leopard Associates.

Telephone enquiries may be made on 08449-4-08449 or 01684-230360.

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