Two days a week in the office is the most we can manage, say City watchdog employees

Employees at the City Watch tell bosses that spending two days a week in the office is the most they can manage in the latest example of employees resisting returning to the workplace.

Members of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) “Staff Advisory Committee” told executives that any changes to its hybrid work policy could be harmful during the cost of living crisis.

Those concerns were raised at an FCA board meeting at the end of June, when the regulator was testing a policy requiring employees to work from the office only two days a week.

In recent weeks, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set a permanent requirement for employees to work from the office only 40% of the time over the course of a month, or two days a week on average.

The complaint highlights how workers are now using the cost-of-living crisis to fall back on more frequent days in the office, suggesting they worry about the price of commuting more than two days a week.

It comes after a major rift earlier this year between employees at the FCA and management over controversial wage reforms, which the organization’s CEO Nikhil Rathi has championed.

The dispute, which led to a small number of employees going on strike, centered on a decision to eliminate employee bonuses and introduce new pay grades that vary by location.

Union representatives claimed the new proposals would result in three out of four employees facing pay cuts of up to 12%. However, Mr. Al Rathi insisted that the reforms would increase the wages of the lowest paid employees.

While many companies still allow employees to work remotely for a large part of the week, a growing number of companies in the City of London are urging employees to return to the office on a permanent basis.

The Bank of England previously came under fire for requiring employees to work from Threadneedle Street only one day a week. Since June, bank employees have been instructed to work from the office twice a week on average.

There are concerns that long-term hybrid work could have negative effects on career advancement.

Katherine Mann, a member of the bank’s monetary policy committee, said earlier that women risk hurting their jobs if they continue to work remotely while others are back in the workplace.

She said the online communication was not able to replicate the spontaneous office conversations that were important to recognition and advancement in many workplaces.

Amanda Blank, chief executive of FTSE 100 insurer Aviva, has expressed similar views, saying working mothers could miss out on vital career opportunities if male colleagues return to their desks while women are no longer.

Kevin Ellis, Chairman of PwC UK, said: ‚ÄúThere is no substitute for being with people face to face to test opinions and make the right decisions. Decisions about the value of a business or whether its accounts are credited are not the ones you want to be destinations in. He looked again at the screen. There is no clue as to what should be done better.”

An FCA spokesperson said: “During our hybrid work program, we found that providing greater flexibility to colleagues was the best way to work effectively, productively and comprehensively.”

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