The Workers Union has called for a common sense approach to returning staff back to the office.
The news comes in the wake of the government’s consultation with business around easing restrictions on office working.
As part of this process, The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is examining when social-distancing rules, such as the 1m-plus rule, can be safely decommissioned in favour of other COVID-secure guidance.
A spokesperson for the BEIS said: ‘As part of the Social Distancing Review, discussions are taking place with businesses to see how social distancing requirements could be relaxed in different settings.
‘All workplaces should continue to follow Covid-secure guidance to minimise the risk of transmission. This does not include the wearing of face masks where social distancing can be adhered to.’
Current estimates suggest that the review will reach its conclusions ahead of 21st of June – the date when all restrictions are due to be lifted.
The Workers Union on the Returning to the Office
In a previous article we commented on the number of businesses that are encouraging their staff to shift to full-time home-working.
We still believe that this is the future for many working people. But we also understand that some businesses require staff to attend the office.
Workers who find themselves in this situation may be feeling anxious about what the future holds. They may worry that the COVID menace is still a very real and present danger, and remain unconvinced that the government – or the business they work for – have sufficient control of the situation to guarantee their safety. They may have built a better balance between home life and work life and are concerned that this will evaporate as businesses start to reopen their doors to staff.
The way out of this predicament must be to leverage the gains that working people have made in the face of Coronavirus. Offering a blend of substantial home working and days in the office will give staff the opportunity to nurture and rebuild their existing working relationships AND preserve the hard-won flexibility that have carried them through the pandemic.
Such an approach is logical, sensible and keeps the focus on safety, rather than shifting it towards an unseemly scramble to strong-arm staff back to their desks.
The truth is that there is no reason to rush this process. Businesses need time to adapt and workers need reassurances that their already disrupted lives will not suffer further upheavals.
So let’s put common sense and reason above fear and paranoia. British workers have shown that they are able to manage themselves and their workloads remotely. The least they should expect are sensible compromises in return.
The Workers Union – fighting for social justice, fighting for you