Ocado Group offers staff remote work outside of UK

Technology software and robotics platform business Ocado Group has offered its staff the opportunity to work remotely outside the UK for one month a year.

The move comes as many companies rethink workplace policies in the wake of the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, with the organisation wanting to offer “a balance and choice” in response to employee requests.

Under the scheme, those who worked from home during the pandemic will be able to do their jobs remotely, subject to Coronavirus restrictions, from reasonable locations outside the UK.

According to The Times, chief people officer at Ocado Group, Claire Ainscough, said that despite this introduction, employees were still being encouraged to return to the office. She added that the scheme answered a “top question” from staff, particularly those who had families abroad and did not want to use up their leave by spending time with them.

This follows a number of other companies that have announced similar hybrid working policies which allow staff to work partly from home and partly in the office. Supermarket chain Asda has permitted employees at its head offices to “select the best location to do their job”, whether that is at home, in the head office or even a store or depot.

In addition, the UK government’s business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng told the BBC that flexible working was “here to stay”, but he would be urging his team to come in more, calling for them to work from the office two to three days a week. Government departments have seen just a few people go back to the office despite employees being asked to make a “gradual return” to Whitehall.

However, not all companies plan to embrace a hybrid working approach. Investment bank Goldman Sachs, for example, wants employees to return to the office once restrictions have ended.