Premier Foods, the food giant behind Cadbury, Bisto and Lloyd Grossman, is offering staff the chance to choose between working from home, or from the office.
With its hybrid working model, Premier Foods’ office staff — who would be due to return to the office as per the relaxation of national coronavirus rules — can take control over their working environment with a flexible approach to working.
However, the measures apply to the 800 office staff, and not to the 3,200 Premier Foods staff who work on the shop floor, unable to carry out their duties from home. The dynamics within Premier Foods reflect the wider trends of the post-lockdown UK economy: an exacerbation of inequality of health and safety and work-life balance between white-collar staff on the one hand, and factory and retail employees on the other.
Group HR Director at Premier Foods, David Wilkinson, said: "This isn't about getting rid of the office altogether, it's about shifting our mindset on what it means to be flexible. Work is a verb not a place and whether it's for a team meeting or just personal preference, our office remains open for anyone who wants to use it. What it's not, is somewhere colleagues have to be for the sake of showing their face."
Mr Wilkinson added: "This is a significant step-change that reflects how far we've come as a business. Innovation has always been a key focus for Premier Foods and so it makes sense for us to apply the same progressive thinking to our policies, as we do our brands. Our new model will create a workplace culture that fosters mutual flexibility and trust while retaining our ways of working, which have seen us deliver continued outperformance over the past few years."