BT bosses insist working in an office is still 'central to the future'

BT bosses insist working in an office is still ‘central to the future’ as they urge thousands of staff to consider returning to their desks after Covid lockdowns

  • The telecoms giant employs around 50,000 office staff
  • BT has stopped short of ordering staff to return
  • But it said offices remained ‘very much central to the company’s future’
  • BT was already due to cut its number of offices from 300 to 30 pre-pandemic

Tens of thousands of white-collar workers at BT have been urged to consider returning to the office as concerns grow over training young staff and creativity.

The telecoms giant employs around 50,000 office staff, of whom most have worked from home for the duration of the pandemic. 

But it said offices remained ‘very much central to the company’s future’.

BT human resources boss Alison Wilcox wrote in a company blog that BT would adopt a hybrid model where staff would not be made to come in for a certain number of days a week. 

But she stressed that in-person collaboration helped ‘fresh thinking’ and allowed less experienced staff to learn from their peers.

However, BT has stopped short of ordering staff to return – instead saying it is up to employees and their managers to decide.

The telecoms giant employs around 50,000 office staff, of whom most have worked from home for the duration of the pandemic.

Its stance echoes that of other major firms surveyed by the Daily Mail earlier this month, with many choosing to ignore encouragement from ministers to bring workers back in the autumn.

A large number of firms are also looking at ways to downsize their office footprint now that they expect fewer staff to be present at any one time.

BT was already due to cut its number of offices from 300 to 30, under plans outlined before the pandemic.

BT was already due to cut its number of offices from 300 to 30, under plans outlined before the pandemic

But Miss Wilcox stressed their enduring importance, saying they would be used ‘to connect, collaborate, learn and develop, build friendships and share their experiences’. 

She added: ‘The truth is there is no one-size-fits-all answer on the future of work.

‘Our offices will be the place our graduates and apprentices learn from more senior colleagues and where new joiners will learn the ropes, meet new team-mates and bring fresh thinking to drive growth in our business… they will be the place where our teams come together to foster collaboration and creativity.’


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