Hymans Robertson is to offer all its employees more flexibility about the amount of time they spend in the office, with the opportunity to work in a hybrid way post pandemic.
The consultant said its new approach will allow all staff, if they choose, to benefit from a mixture of remote and office working.
Hymans Robertson said its new hybrid working approach has been developed after extensive consultation with employees, through its ongoing ‘Reimagining Working Life' project.
The firm, which is celebrating its centenary this year, recently reached the milestone of 1,000 employees having welcomed over 150 new people to the firm over the pandemic. It has four offices in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh, and said every employee will continue to have a designated office.
But it added, while all employees will benefit from greater flexibility with the option of remote working, the office environment remains an important part of the firm's culture, so some regular presence in the office will be required. It also said it will be imperative that employees they meet any business and client needs for office presence.
Explaining the new way of working, Hymans Robertson managing partner Shireen Anisuddin said: "A few years ago it would have seemed unbelievable to think that we could all have worked so effectively from home for over a year. Yet when lockdown began, as a firm, we adjusted seamlessly to this. We've seen many benefits for our people's wellbeing, while at the same time still operating very successfully as a business. So, we're really excited to be able to learn from this experience and introduce our ‘new normal' of hybrid working."
Anisuddin said when the firm asked its employees for their views it was clear that many appreciated the benefits of reduced time spent commuting, increased flexibility over working hours and the ability to spend more time focusing on their wellbeing through exercising and eating more healthily.
She said: "Our new hybrid approach will allow our employees to retain many of these advantages, while at the same time recognising that at the heart and soul of our firm is a vibrant office life. It's through face-to-face collaboration in the office that great ideas can be developed; learning can be achieved from those with more experience; and strong working and social relationships built. We believe all these ultimately benefit our clients."
Hymans Robertson said it anticipated that with this greater flexibility fewer office-based desks would be needed each day but noted it would be retaining all of its offices and not downsizing its office footprints - giving it the opportunity to create more collaboration space and break-out areas.
Anisuddin added: "Serving our clients' needs is our priority so introducing this new hybrid working approach will allow us the flexibility to ensure this remains the case. We're really looking forward to welcoming our clients back into our offices, and travelling to meet them at their workplaces, once face-to-face meetings again become the norm. At the same time, however, we recognise that remote meetings will continue to be convenient and effective in some situations, and some clients may prefer these. It's great that we'll be able to offer choice to clients in how we'll be able to work with them; we expect this will mean we'll be able to provide an even better service."
Hymans Robertson said one of the big impacts it had seen from the ongoing need to work from home has been its reduction in travel which it said has led to a commensurate reduction in our travel related carbon emissions.
Anisuddin explained: "Earlier this year we announced our intention for our firm to become net carbon zero, which we have now achieved, and our further intention to be lifetime net zero carbon by 2025. Additionally, we pledged to halve our carbon footprint by 2025. As part of our post-pandemic plans we'll be making efforts to reduce travel significantly as part of our carbon reduction goal. We've seen that through remote working this can be done effectively, and it is important for all of us to continue that positive trajectory."
UPDATE - 27 August
Anisuddin said that, based on feedback from its staff, the firm has now also extended our working window, to between 7am and 7pm, to accommodate more of the benefits remote working provides.
She added: "We continue to partner with our clients to ensure that they also benefit from the advantages of hybrid working and that we meet or exceed their needs. We are delivering technology solutions to meet the new requirements of hybrid working for both our clients and colleagues. Our expectation remains that this will take effect from October."
This article is part of a Professional Pensions' series about the return to the office. To find out more - and to learn what other firms in the industry are planning - visit: www.professionalpensions.com/feature/4034784/pensions-industry-returning-office