The onset of COVID wreaked havoc on the tourism and leisure industry – in particular, the travel sector. Major airlines such as British Airways have seen at least 10,000 job cuts being made in an effort to shore up finances as a result of the economic downturn. One thing has come out of the pandemic, however, and that is the increased popularity of remote work.
British Airways, like many other companies, have created a hybrid working model during the pandemic so employees are split between the office and home. This model has proved successful for the airline, resulting in more talks about whether working remotely should become part of the company’s future. In March 2021, with more and more of its employees stating that they are happy working from home, BA decided to take the leap to fully embracing a hybrid working model after Covid subsides. As well as the benefits that remote work provides to employees, other incentives include the company being able to save money on less office space and contribute towards a greener future. However, the airline is still aware of the difficulties they might face in this move including how to shift operations in a short amount of time and provide employees with wellbeing programmes and outlets. Stuart Kennedy, BA’s director of people, commented on this need to rethink operations for a hybrid model stating that, “we’ll want to consider what the ideal office layout for the future will be. Perhaps it’s less fixed desks and more casual meeting areas, and we need to consider colleague wellbeing, too.” As well as this move to a hybrid model, the company is also considering whether to sell its Waterside HQ in Heathrow to save money. Since the hybrid model will eliminate the need for bigger office spaces, the move to scrap Waterside HQ could prove successful, saving money and being better for the environment. In a separate statement, Kennedy commented on the future aims of BA with remote working stating that, “Our aim is to find a hybrid working model that suits our business, blending the best of office and remote working for our people. We’ve also re-structured our business to emerge from the crisis and are considering whether we still have the need for such a large headquarters building.”
As more and more companies start to see the benefits of remote working, there is a chance that a hybrid model could become the new norm. It would afford companies the chance to cut down on office space and expenses, contribute to a greener future, and give employees more flexibility.