It’s carry on working from home! Staff are to be told not to return to their offices even as Covid-19 restrictions are lifted
- Boris Johnson not expected to set a firm date when office workers should return
- Many large firms have told their that they should continue to work remotely
- Some studies have shown productivity has been hampered by home working
- Tory MPs have urged government to provide clarity on when workers can return
Office staff are set to be told to keep working from home even as other lockdown restrictions are eased, the Daily Mail can reveal.
Boris Johnson is not expected to give a firm date for when workers will return to their desks as he unveils his plans for a return to normality on Monday.
It means that the ‘work from home if you can’ message will continue to guide employers for the foreseeable future.
Boris Johnson is not expected to give a firm date for when workers will return to their desks as he unveils his plans for a return to normality on Monday. Pictured: A woman balances her child on her lap while she works on a laptop at home (file photo)
Many large firms have already told staff that they should work remotely, with some even delaying a return to the office until at least the end of the year.
However, some studies claim that productivity is hampered as workers log in from their kitchen table rather than at their desk.
Tory MPs urged the Government last night to provide clarity on when staff might be able to return to their offices. Former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘We need to get people back to work as soon as possible.
‘There are lots of reasons why work is important to our lives. It affects people’s physical and mental wellbeing and there are issues around productivity.
‘I would like to see as much detail as possible in the road map to help people to make plans. They need to know in advance.’
The message to work from home was introduced at the beginning of the first lockdown last March.
But as the surge in Covid cases eased over the summer, it was changed to urge employees to return to their offices to get Britain working again, sparking fury from Labour MPs and unions.
Tory MPs urged the Government last night to provide clarity on when staff might be able to return to their offices. Former party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘We need to get people back to work as soon as possible
Announcing the third national lockdown at the beginning of this year, the Prime Minister said that people should go into work only if they ‘absolutely’ could not work from home.
Asked whether the new road map would change this message, a Government source said: ‘I don’t think that will happen. We have a way to go before that changes.
‘We wouldn’t bring in a new message at this stage because it will confuse people. The road map is to set out where we’re going.’
Mr Johnson will publish his blueprint, setting out the earliest dates at which the array of restrictions could be lifted, on Monday.
He is expected to chair a meeting of the Cabinet’s ‘Covid O’ committee this week and will then present the document to Parliament before making a televised address from Downing Street.
It is not clear when the road map will run until, but the expectation is that working from home will be the norm for office staff for some time yet.
Mr Johnson (pictured) will publish his blueprint, setting out the earliest dates at which the array of restrictions could be lifted, on Monday
Last October, a study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that bosses believed the nation was less productive when working from home.
It found that companies were twice as likely to see a fall in productivity when staff worked remotely than if they were at their desks in the office.
Of those bosses who have increased homeworking through the pandemic, almost a quarter said that productivity had gone down.
Only 12 per cent said output had improved as a result, while around half said it made no difference.
As a result, less than a fifth of businesses expect to keep more working from home after the pandemic is over, with two-thirds set to go back to their old setup permanently, the ONS found.
The remainder have not yet decided whether they will bring workers back, it added.
A CBI and PwC survey of the financial services industry found three-quarters of firms were reviewing their office space requirements, as expensive city centre sites go under-used.
Source: Read Full Article