Asda will make “hybrid” working permanent for employees at its head offices once Covid rules are relaxed.
The supermarket has announced that about 4,000 staff in total, at Asda House in Leeds and at George House in Leicester, can choose where they work best – whether at home, or at the office, shop or depot.
England is set to lift its remaining coronavirus restrictions on 19 July, and many businesses have indicated that they will continue to allow flexible working after this date.
However, Jacki Simpson, Asda’s vice president of people operations, said the hybrid model would not work for all employees, such as those who work in training and need to have in-person contact with colleagues.
Earlier this week, Labour MP and shadow children’s minister Tulip Siddiq read out the Flexible Working Bill in parliament, and said flexible working ought to be a “right for all rather than a perk for the few”.
The legislation she introduced through the ten-minute rule is backed by MPs from the Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, SNP, SDLP and Green parties. It is scheduled to have its second reading on 19 November.
It came after Downing Street had confirmed that the government was considering legislating to make working from home the “default” option by giving employees the right to request it.
However, prime minister Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said there would be no legal right to work from home.
They added that Mr Johnson believed there were benefits to being in the office, including collaboration with colleagues.
The PM’s position echoes the concerns of the largest business lobby group, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which has warned that giving workers the legal right to demand remote working would harm young employees and damage city centre economies.
Major banks including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have taken the most hardline stance on post-lockdown working, by demanding that all staff return to the office once Covid restrictions are lifted.