Pan Macmillan will not make staff come into the office for a set number of days under its future working plans, though it still anticipates many staff will “want and need to work at least two to three days per week in the office”.
The announcement is part of a phased approach that will see its Clerkenwell office reopen for those who need it once restrictions are lifted, before a full reopening in October. However, there will be no mandated number of days in the building as part of a flexible back-to-work process that will be kept under review.
Its new policy is in contrast to HarperCollins and Bloomsbury which both recently announced staff would need to work from the office for at least two days a week. Hachette is planning a three-day office working policy.
On Monday (7th June) Pan Mac announced a three-stage strategy for return to the office during 2021. The company said a “focus on diversity, equity and inclusion” informed the company’s approach “as it seeks to ensure that working at Pan Mac can become more accessible to more people”.
From now until 21st June, or a later date when key restrictions are lifted, all meetings will continue to be virtual, with everyone working from home as the norm. The current flexible start and finish times will continue with summer hours operating, as well as a two-hour meeting-free period in the middle of the day and no meetings on Fridays. The Smithson office building in Clerkenwell will continue to provide limited usage for those who need it, but there will be no visitors and no physical author events in the building.
The publisher will then open its office from Monday through Thursday between June and September to enable more people to use it. During that time working in the office will be voluntary, and the company will use the period to “test, experiment and consult widely” to understand which activities can continue to operate virtually and what will work better in person. Booking systems will remain in place for desks, most meeting rooms and facilities, and visitors will be able to access the building by arrangement.
The publisher will also support on a voluntary basis any authors attending major festivals or events. Summer hours will continue through to the end of August, with core hours being trialled in September. A new overall schedule will be developed to cluster virtual meetings for working from home alongside in-person meetings for attending in the office.
From October, the publisher expects that many more activities will happen in person and the office will be fully open and fully functional from Monday to Friday, with new guidelines for working in the building. Pan Macmillan said it “anticipates” from feedback so far that many staff will “want and need to work at least two to three days per week in the office, depending on their role”.
However, the publisher says it has chosen not to mandate a specific number of days in the office “to maintain flexibility” and “let working patterns evolve while keeping progress under review”. It added: “Guidance will be provided for individuals to balance their needs with those of their team and the business as a whole.”
Core hours will be implemented and a revised flexible working request system will be trialled. Author events are also likely to be restarted.
Anthony Forbes Watson, c.e.o. at Pan Macmillan, said: "Our approach to future working embodies the conviction that our consistent success has been based on an open, trust-based operating model, which attracts and energises exceptional people and prioritises the development and wellbeing of everyone who works here.
“The opportunity now is to apply what we have learned over the last year in the context of our business goals, to improve our effectiveness as a company, and this includes offering greater flexibility to each of us in the way we work. This roadmap is designed to move us into the next phase of Pan Mac’s story as an outperforming, distinctive and special place to work.”
In a separate development, Pan Macmillan has changed the job titles of publishers Jeremy Trevathan and Belinda Rasmussen, who now become m.d. of adult publishing and children's books respectively.