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Citrix rebuffs PM's claims that remote working will come to an end

Although employees are keen to return to in-person meetings, remote working will play a "huge role" in post-pandemic life

Remote working will play a "huge role" in post-pandemic life and is very much going to be the new normal, according to Citrix. 

The cloud giant said that UK employees want hybrid working models, despite a strong desire to meet in person again. The option to work remotely, it said, makes for "happier" workers that stay committed for longer. 

The comments came in response to remarks from prime minister Boris Johnson, who dismissed the notion that remote working will become the new normal for British businesses. Instead, he suggested that people will have the desire to get back into the workplace and resume in-person meetings. 

His statement echos similar comments the government made in the summer after the first lockdown ended, which saw it urge people to get back to the workplace. The aim was to increase footfall traffic for shops and restaurants in city centres and on popular commuter routes and came after the CBI warned that workers must return to the office or risk urban centres becoming ghost towns.

 "While the prime minister is undoubtedly right that many office workers may have a strong desire for face-to-face meetings once again, this does not mean remote working will not play a huge role in post-pandemic life," Mark Sweeney, Citrix's regional VP of UK and Ireland, told IT Pro.

Research conducted by Citrix found flexible working initiatives have improved both the professional and personal lives of many UK employees. Around 46% surveyed by Citrix said they would only accept a role that offered flexible work options if they were to change jobs, highlighting a clear desire for remote working to remain, rather than Johnson's notion of a return to the old ways. 

"A key learning we should take from the past year is that work is not dictated by a particular place, and should companies use flexible technologies - such as cloud-based virtual desktops and apps - to offer employees a hybrid model of working, then they are likely to see happier and more engaged workers that stay committed for longer," Sweeney added.

There is significant evidence to back Sweeney's comments beyond Citrix's research. Recent studies have shown that the majority of people that can work remotely wish to continue doing so in some capacity beyond lockdown, and there are reports highlighting how businesses are changing their office space with hybrid models in mind. 

Salesforce is perhaps the biggest promotor of remote and hybrid work. The tech giant recently announced the 'death' of the 9 to 5, with sweeping changes to its office space and work policies. Even Google and Microsoft, which have both offered more negative comment on remote working, have accepted that hybrid office strategies need to be looked at. 

Even the CBI, which warned of ghost towns in the summer, has tweaked its stance; it released a report in November called 'No Turning Back' that also suggested hybrid work was here to stay. 

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