A government campaign will start next week to encourage employees to go back to their workplaces.
The campaign will be mostly promoted through regional media, but government sources have insisted that it will not suggest those who do work from home through the COVID-19 pandemic are at risk of losing their jobs. It will ask employers, to assure their staff it is safe to return to the office as COVID-19 safety measures have been implemented.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary said that some parts of a job are “impossible” to do remotely.
Mr Shapps said:
I suspect we’ll see more flexible working than we’ve seen in the past and it will be for employers and employees to work out the right balance in their particular cases.
The Transport Secretary added that employees can raise issues they have with their workplace not being “COVID-secure” with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), but he feels most companies have worked hard to make their workplace COVID-19 safe to deal with this new threat.
Mr Shapps did add that the return of pupils to school and parents to work will “create pressure” on public transport.
Matt Hancock, Health Secretary has been reported to create a disagreement in the cabinet by saying that he cares more about the effectiveness of employees’ work in his department, rather than whether or not they come in to the office.
This news follows Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) saying that city centres are becoming “ghost towns” and that the Government need to encourage workers back to the office.
Dame Fairbairn also said that “there is also the question of fairness” when it comes to remote working as not everyone has the capability to work at home and this may lead to “new divisions in our society”. People like “barbers and brewers” cannot work from home, this being similar to what Mr Shapps said.
In her Daily Mail article, she stated that children returning to school are just as important as filling offices with employees again as this is a “vital driver” of the economy.