Your Industry  

Industry split on govt hybrid working review

Industry split on govt hybrid working review
 

Members of the advice industry have mixed views on the government's call for evidence on its review of the emerging trends in remote and hybrid working.

The Office of Tax Simplification, an independent adviser to the UK government, announced yesterday (August 31) that it is seeking input from employers and individuals on their experience and desire for different types of working arrangements.

As people have come to expect more flexible working conditions, businesses recognise that to retain and attract talent they need to offer that flexibility.

Article continues after advert

But for those in the advice space, where face-to-face meetings have traditionally been the backbone of building client relationships, the move to hybrid or fully remote working has been a tentative one.

Some in the sector remain of the view that clients are best served face-to-face. 

Mortgage, protection and equity release adviser, Lewis Shaw, is of the view that it is easier to build a rapport with clients face-to-face and that this leads to deeper and better conversations with them.

Shaw explained that with these relationships, the client feels more comfortable and it therefore results in better outcomes.

He pointed out that it is much simpler to fulfil anti-money laundering rules and regulations and collect documents in person. 

“Remote working is fine for experienced hands in roles that can be performed outside an office. But, the time taken to develop that level of experience can often only be garnered in a collaborative way, typically in an office,” Shaw said.

This is the approach also taken by mortgage brokerage, Private Finance. 

The firm’s technical director, Chris Sykes explained that the company has found hybrid working to suit it well and now only opens its office five days a week, with all staff working from home on Fridays. 

More senior staff at the firm work two days a week from the office, while junior staff work from the office four days a week to give them the opportunity to learn and ask questions in person. 

“I’m very happy to work from home,” Sykes said. “I get more done and find I don’t miss the distractions of the office and can instead crack on with emails and calls and I am not busy answering questions.” 

Sykes also pointed out the huge benefit hybrid and flexible working has had for his clients. 

Home owners

“It’s been a hugely positive thing for a lot of mortgage borrowers as it broadens the possibilities of where they can live and work from.

“For first time buyers, a lot have been able to move out of London, to cities like Manchester or Birmingham and they can now work from the office maybe one or two days a week. Instead of buying a one bed flat in the city, it means they can now afford a bigger property in a more affordable location.”

While blended working has been a positive for many, some companies remain concerned around the tax implications of letting their employees work from abroad.