David Wood: What impact will the return to work have on employees’ work-life balance?

Earlier in the year we asked our people for their feedback on how they’d found homeworking and their thoughts on what a return to the office could look like for them. Most people had really appreciated having the ability to work from home, and many said that they felt just as, or more, productive. People also said that there were aspects of office working they missed, such as seeing colleagues. For these reasons the majority told us that they wanted to see a flexible and blended mix of home and office working, and as a result of this feedback we announced our plans for hybrid working from this year onwards.

Our approach to hybrid working puts people’s home/office working preferences front and centre of their discussions with their manager to determine what working style they will adopt, while balancing these preferences against the needs of other colleagues and our clients.

We are also continuing to make best use of our extensive wellbeing programme to best support and guide people whether they’re returning to the office, adopting hybrid working, or continuing to work at home on an ongoing basis. We are planning to run a webinar to support people who may been feeling anxious about returning to work, and will also be making people more aware of the range of wellbeing resources available to them to support their physical and mental wellbeing.

We’ve also shared some tips on how people can prioritise their wellbeing including taking regular breaks, avoiding lunchtime meetings, and encouraging walking meetings.

We understand that not everyone returning to the office will feel comfortable taking public transport and some may choose to cycle instead, so we have increased the limit on our tax-free cycle to work scheme.

We are also offering everyone a wellbeing day to take within the year, to ensure they are able to take a step back from work when they need to.

David Wood is reward and analytics manager at Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP