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Gloom over office sector

Standard Life says its offices will work at 40% of capacity

Standard Life Aberdeen

The St Andrew Square head office is being ‘prepped’

Standard Life Aberdeen’s outgoing CEO expects its offices to operate at 40% capacity when staff return to their desks.

Keith Skeoch told the media on a conference call that there would be a “different way of working” with “some teams in and some teams out’ into next year.

He added that he was aware of the “gloom” surrounding the property sector over the future of the office market.

Mr Skeoch, who is handing over the reins to Stephen Bird, said home working has worked “really well” with 99% of the company’s 4,900 UK staff working from home for the rest of 2020. The company has proved to be “operationally resilient”, he said.

An internal survey revealed that 44% of staff enjoyed an improved work/life balance during the lockdown.

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“It was tough getting there and it has been hard on some individuals, but we are adapting to a different way of working. We think the return to offices will be slow and phased.”

Regarding the St Andrew Square head office, he said: “We have been prepping that with ergonomics.. there will be 40% capacity into 2021. Some teams will be in and some out.

“I know there is a lot of gloom in the property sector on the outlook for offices.

“It will require some serious investment in the housing sector to improve broadband capacity and provide people with accommodation to work effectively.”

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