“Effective Jan. 30, all SSC partners within commuting distance are expected to work in the SSC a minimum of three days per week. To rebuild our connection to each other and synchronize teams and efforts” Howard Schultz issues this message to Starbucks Support Partners on January 11th.
The norm is seemingly shifting towards a hybrid working environment in the UK. With major corporations seeing the benefits of working from home but understanding there are also difficulties. In the case of Starbucks that difficulty lies in the split between retail workers, on the floor every day, and support staff, who spend their work week at home.
Fairness and Culture
“Fairness” and “Culture” are the reasons cited by Mr. Schultz, and it’s hard to argue with him. Coffee Shops are a place to meet, catch up, to talk tactics, politics or rubbish. Most importantly, to connect in person. To run a workforce from home would seemingly go against what Starbucks wants from its customers. The second issue seems equally obvious, the colleagues working in over 1000 Starbucks stores will rightfully be frustrated knowing that support staff get the perks of a hybrid working situation. If anything is going to hurt colleague moral, you can bet inequality within a company will do that.
Hybrid working had been established in over 80% of companies at the beginning of 2022, and whilst this has dramatically dropped off since Covid restrictions have lifted. A recent study by Embryo and reported by business insider suggests that even now in 2023, over 30% of UK full time employees have a hybrid working schedule. This rises to 36% in London.
So, hybrid working is here to stay, at least for Starbucks (The Bank of England, Asda, Natwest and others). It’s up to the companies to get their part right, and the Starbucks CEO has a plan; “Additionally, our Modern Workplace team has spent the past two years tirelessly redesigning a workplace of the future with countless amenities to support an inspiring and uplifting environment.”
But it’s also up to the colleagues to embrace this new way of working, and whilst companies will support this, colleagues themselves need to find the right mindset, space and tools to get the job done, both at home and away.