Despite outdoor gatherings and sport resuming across England from today (29 March), work-from-home guidance is expected to remain in place for some months to come.
Asked if it was still the plan that the work-from-home guidance was going to stay in force until June 21, the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “From the road map, it remains the case that people must continue to only go to work if it’s not reasonable for them to work from home.
Their comments come as people across England have begun taking advantage of the relaxation of lockdown measures.
Groups of up to six, or two households, can socialise in parks and gardens once more, while outdoor sports facilities can reopen after the stay-at-home order ended on Monday.
Only go to the office if ‘you can’t reasonably work from home’
“Business and workers have made huge efforts throughout the past year or so to support that,” the spokesperson added.“The work-from-home guidance remains that we continue to ask people to only go to work if they can’t reasonably work from home.”
Asked about the Government’s long-term plan for civil servants, the spokesperson said: “We’ve committed to consulting on making flexible working the default unless employers have good reasons not to. That consultation will be launched in due course.”
On 26 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak called on firms to reopen their offices when coronavirus restrictions ease as he warned that staff may quit if they are made to work from home full-time.
The Chancellor declared the traditional workplace superior to remote working and said the opportunities afforded in an office cannot be beaten.
He suggested staff could “vote with their feet” and defect to rival employers if they are not allowed to work from the office, as companies look at how to tackle the issue of remote versus office working beyond the pandemic.
In an interview for the Conservative spring forum, Sunak touted the benefits of the physical workplace due to meetings “by chance” and “people riffing off each other”.
Young people also reaped the benefits of proximity to experienced mentors when working in an office, the Chancellor added.
Sunak’s comments came after prominent figures – including Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey – declared in recent weeks that they believe the five-day-a-week office commute is over.
One in 10 workers ‘did not wear trousers’
A survey of 500 business leaders showed that one in two plans to continue offering remote working to staff, while a third expect to cut down on office space.
THe London Chamber of Commerce said its study revealed that almost two-thirds of employers have allowed staff to work from home at least two days a week as a result of the pandemic.
Just over half of respondents said they will continue remote working in some form each week when the pandemic is over.
Two in five have reduced their office space, and most will keep holding meetings virtually where possible.
On a more humorous note, almost a third of people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic wore pyjamas during virtual meetings, while one in 10 did not even put on a pair of trousers, according to a YouGov poll.
Findings suggested that around 42 per cent of home workers have experienced “Zoom fatigue” since the pandemic began, though only 14 per cent say they want to return to the office full-time when it is safe.
One in five said they never want to go back.