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UK News: Banks lead the charge back to the office after work from home axed

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Business giants began calling staff back to offices yesterday after Boris Johnson scrapped work-from-home guidance.

Large banks, advertising firms and insurers announced plans to return to the office – although most said flexible working arrangements would remain in place.

Big Four accountancy firm KPMG said it ‘welcomed’ the end of the Government guidance and told staff in England to come into the office at least two days a week.

Investment bank Citi sent a note to staff highlighting the benefits of office working, including that they are ‘better able to generate the energy and collaborative spirit’ it thrives on.

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It told workers to return to their desks for at least three days a week while taking regular tests.

HSBC told the Daily Mail that its staff have begun returning to the office as of yesterday © Provided by Daily Mail HSBC told the Daily Mail that its staff have begun returning to the office as of yesterday

HSBC said its staff started returning to the office yesterday, while Standard Chartered asked employees to come in from Monday. Citigroup and Goldman Sachs said they also plan to resume office working.

Havas, a French advertising agency with 11,500 staff worldwide, told the BBC it would ‘fully reopen’ its London HQ from Monday. Chris Hirst, of Havas, told Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Many of our employees really do want to come back, but there are some people who are nervous. We will be talking to those people individually and finding solutions that work for them.’

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Insurance firm Zurich said it was ‘excited’ to welcome staff back but most would continue on a hybrid basis.

The announcements came as hospitality bosses highlighted the devastating impact working from home had on city centre pubs, restaurants, cafes and shops.

Greater Manchester’s night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord said high streets have ‘severely lacked’ much-needed footfall.

And UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the sector needs the support of communities ‘more than ever’.

‘The removal of working from home guidance in England is a huge boost for hospitality operators, as they started 2022 low on cash after a second cancelled Christmas, deep in debt after two years of restricted trading, and facing soaring costs on so many fronts,’ she added.

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