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Gloucestershire Business News

Major food firm embraces hybrid working

The food producer behind Mr Kipling cakes, Bisto and Batchelors soup is embracing hybrid working - offering staff the chance to combine home and office working.

Premier Foods, one of Britain's biggest food producers and home to some of the nation's best known brands is introducing a hybrid working model, aimed at boosting productivity and personal wellbeing.

From this month, more than 800 staff who would usually work at Premier Food's offices, will be able to work wherever they work best, in a move that the FTSE 250 company hopes will have a big impact.

In total, the company employs more than 4,000 people at 15 factories and offices up and down the country. But the move is likely to raise some controversy because the offer will naturally only apply to office workers - heightening the divide between white collar and shopfloor employees.

Premier Foods is providing all its human resources managers with special training to support the transition, which includes mental health provision and practical support.

David Wilkinson, Group HR Director at Premier Foods, said: "This isn't about getting rid of the office altogether, it's about shifting our mindset on what it means to be flexible.

"Work is a verb not a place and whether it's for a team meeting or just personal preference, our office remains open for anyone who wants to use it. What it's not, is somewhere colleagues have to be for the sake of showing their face."

Under the new ways of working, colleagues who can work remotely will be encouraged to work where they are most productive, not a set location they must attend. This follows a number of focus groups, spanning more than 100 Premier Foods staff, who told decision makers that a hybrid model would offer the best of both worlds.

David Wilkinson added: "This is a significant step change that reflects how far we've come as a business. Innovation has always been a key focus for Premier Foods and so it makes sense for us to apply the same progressive thinking to our policies, as we do our brands.

"Our new model will create a workplace culture that fosters mutual flexibility and trust, while retaining our ways of working, which have seen us deliver continued outperformance over the past few years."

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