Frasers Group, the retail empire that owns brands including House of Fraser and Sports Direct, has banned staff from working from home on Fridays after it claimed the policy was unproductive.
The company has scrapped its “Frasers Friday” policy, which allowed staff to work from home at the end of the week, because it claimed to have found social media posts that suggested employees were relaxing instead of working.
An internal memo sent by the company’s chief operating officer David Al-Mudallal said it had become an “unproductive day of the week” and that there were “too many examples of people or teams not being contactable when they need to be…and colleagues who via their social media profiles are demonstrating they’re not treating Friday as a working day”.
The company – which employs over 25,000 people across its stores and two head office locations in Oxford Street, London and Shirebrook, Derbyshire – introduced the policy at the end of 2020 when Covid-19 cases were rising and the company sought to limit the spread of the virus.
Frasers Group has been contacted by Personnel Today, but a spokesperson told The Guardian: “We have an incredible workforce of dedicated colleagues, and in-person collaboration is key to how we deliver value together. We believe that we are all at our best when we work together in an office environment.”
Research published by XpertHR this week showed that many workers were reluctant to return to offices. Nearly six in 10 organisations have staff that spend between two and three days working from home each week.
Homeworking in the UK more than doubled between October to December 2019 and January to March 2022, according to the Office for National Statistics, increasing ffrom 14.5% of workers to 30.6%