Asda will allow its 4,000 head office staff to choose where they work when lockdown measures are lifted, with options to remain at home, return to the office, or opt for an alternative location such as one of the retailer’s stores or depots.
The supermarket’s Leeds- and Leicester-based employees will permanently switch to the new hybrid model – which the retailer is calling “work where it works” – and staff will not be required to attend a specific location for a set number of days per week.
The policy applies to office-based employees at the UK’s third-biggest grocer. Staff will be expected to visit one of the firm’s head offices for events such as team meetings, training and meeting other colleagues. However, there will be flexibility to continue working from home if it is more productive to do so, particularly for tasks such as planning and research.
The hybrid model will be introduced by Asda as soon as the government lifts social distancing regulations, and employees will be expected to discuss how to balance office and home working with their managers.
Asda said colleagues would work with their teams and line managers to agree on timetables and locations, while ensuring the needs of the business are met.
The grocer’s approximately 140,000 store and depot staff will be not be affected by the change and will continue working as before.
Jacki Simpson, Asda’s vice-president of people operations, said employees had requested more flexibility with some continued remote working following the pandemic. “However, they also acknowledge there is some work that is simply better done from the office, so as we move forward, a hybrid working model is the right approach for our people and the business,” she said.
“We believe this approach will help us attract and retain the best talent and will continue to position Asda as an employer of choice.”
The decision marks an about-turn for the supermarket, which told its employees last July it wanted them to start returning to the office, before government regulations once again required employees in England to work from home during the second wave of Covid-19.
Asda’s adoption of hybrid working means it joins the ranks of other firms such as accountant Deloitte, which has told its 20,000 UK staff that they can choose where they need to be.