Bosses at John Lewis and Waitrose have confirmed they will introduce flexible working for staff at the employee-owned retailer based at the company’s head offices.
The announcement comes following the latest update from the Government over plans to ease lockdown restrictions from July 19, which include an end to the requirement that employees should work from home where they can.
Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations for the John Lewis Partnership, told the PA news agency: “If restrictions are lifted on July 19 we won’t tell our head office partners where to work. The pandemic has forced us all to rethink the norm of five days in an office.
I don’t believe anyone can make confident assertions about how this will play out in future yearsAndrew Murphy, John Lewis Partnership
“We will continue to support and enable our partners as they figure out how and where they work best for the type of work they do.
“I don’t believe anyone can make confident assertions about how this will play out in future years.”
John Lewis joins a long list of other businesses that have introduced flexible working for staff, including Asda, which announced last week staff will be able to work from any location best suited to their job.
Other companies to have already announced plans to offer hybrid working include Lloyds, Barclays and HSBC banks, as well as call centre operator Capita and British Gas owner Centrica.
The John Lewis Partnership said it has taken feedback from its staff – known as partners due to the ownership structure – and adopted a fluid and flexible working policy.
The majority of partners said they are more productive at home but they want to come together at times, when working on big projects.
According to the retailer, 72 meeting rooms at its two head offices in London and Bracknell now have audio and video capabilities.
In a poll last summer, one in five partners said they might move further away if they did not need to be in the office as much and the company said it has committed to ensuring all future job vacancies will be advertised with a flexible working option, unless there is an operational reason why this is not possible.