Two major charities move to two office days a month for staff

Charity

Hundreds of staff at two large charities are now required to attend their offices just twice a month under post-Covid-19 reforms, it was revealed today.

Friends of the Earth and Leukaemia UK have both significantly cut back the amount of time employees are mandated to work in the office.

Leukaemia UK said it tried to bring all staff together in its office once a month, while Friends of the Earth said the changes meant it had been able to generate income by “relinquishing” use of half its London office space.

Both charities were speaking online this afternoon at an event organised by the public relations professional body PRCA.

Friends of the Earth Charitable Trust, which funds Friends of the Earth, employs about 190 people and raised more than £13m last year. Leukaemia UK has 11 staff and an income of £1.6m.

The changes are the latest adaptations to working patterns in the voluntary sector since the end of the pandemic, which have also seen charities shift to four-day weeks, quit permanent office space altogether and test schemes to ban emails and meetings at certain times of the week.

Adrian Cruden, head of people at Friends of the Earth, said: “We have a very flexible approach.

“The minimum you have to do is attend an in-person event once a fortnight on average.

“In practice, a lot of people spend quite a bit more time in the physical workplace – but most people are at home most of the time.”

Cruden told the event his charity had also removed core hours for staff so that they could spread their seven-and-a-half hours of work across the day.

Anna Wilson, who is in a job share as director of communications at Leukaemia UK, said the idea staff should work five days a week in the office “has completely shifted” since Covid-19.

She said a recent review of hybrid working policies recommended “everyone having to come into the office a couple of days a month as a minimum, but [with] the opportunity for people to come in as much as they want and as suits them and their working style and arrangements inside and outside of work”.

Cruden said Friends of the Earth was very aware of “the whole issue about cohesion and the risk of things like isolation” as it rolled out its new approach.

He said: “There is a challenge if somebody is working by themselves.”

This included a potential blurring of life and work, he added, saying colleagues may ask themselves: “‘When does my work stop and when does it begin – and when does my outside life begin?’

“I do think that is something we need to be mindful of.”

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