Rishi Sunak warns young home working may hurt their career

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Rishi SunakImage source, Reuters

Young people will see their careers benefit by working in the office, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has said.

He told LinkedIn News he doubted he would have done as well if he had started his working life virtually.

Mr Sunak worked in finance, including at banking giant Goldman Sachs.

He said he still talked to his early mentors, saying: "I doubt I would have had those strong relationships if I was doing my summer internship or my first bit of my career over Teams and Zoom."

"That's why I think for young people in particular, being able to physically be in an office is valuable," he added.

The government has recommended a gradual return to work in England since restrictions were lifted on 19 July. However, the Scottish government wants people to keep working at home until at least 9 August, where possible.

Do you think you're losing out by not being in the office?

Many firms and industry groups have said they will take a cautious approach to bringing staff back in to workplaces.

Business services group Deloitte has been increasing the number of staff allowed to work in its offices from 30% pre-19 July to 50% and will keep to that until September.

NatWest said that it would bring back a small number of "priority workers", while insurer Aviva said it expected to see more people returning but that employees were expected to work in a hybrid fashion.

Accountancy firm KPMG has allowed people to work from its offices if they made a request to their manager.

Mr Sunak said: "I've spoken previously about young people in particular benefiting from being in offices: it was really beneficial to me when I was starting out in my career.

"The mentors that I found when I first started my job, I still talk to and they've been helpful to me all through my career even after we've gone in different ways."

'Blended approach'

Another former Goldman Sachs banker, Xavier Rolet, who has been in the news this week for telling the younger generation of bankers to stop complaining about long working hours, said technology now had a bigger role to play in working relationships than pre-pandemic.

"We're never going to go back to exactly the way we were before," Mr Rolet, who ran the London Stock Exchange for eight years, told the BBC.

"But the chancellor also has a point, which is that human interaction, besides the new technological tools, is also important.

"So I think we're going to end up with a blended approach. Yes, by any means get back into the office, but do not underestimate the power of technology."