Should you follow Rishi Sunak’s advice and get back into the office?


You may have seen reports of the comments the Chancellor made during a LinkedIn interview this week. In case you missed it, what he said in essence is that he believes young people’s careers will really benefit if they get back into the office as soon as their employers’ covid policies allow. His rationale is that video conferencing is no substitute for face-to-face interactions, and he feels he would have missed out on many of the strong relationships he formed in the early days of his career if he had not been in the office.

During recent conversations with several clients in the accountancy profession who employ trainees (be they ACA or CTA or apprentices) we have discussed this issue at some length. Although this is anecdotal and not an analytical study, we found overwhelming support amongst partners in client firms for Rishi’s opinion.

Whilst you can learn all the technical information you need via online lectures, albeit it can be more difficult than classroom-based learning, it is the non-technical skills that you may miss out on. Seeing how more experienced colleagues speak to and act around clients and interact with colleagues in different teams is seen as being crucial and is the sort of thing you almost learn by osmosis.

Then there is the question of how you can stand out from the crowd if you are particularly ambitious. Being around in the office and interacting with Managers and Partners more frequently gives you the opportunity to showcase just how keen you are to take on extra responsibilities and be a great team player. This is much harder to do online.

And if all of this isn’t enough to convince you, remember that work should be fun too – and you can’t beat having a good laugh with the friends you make in the office.