“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”. These are the words of Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, the director-general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
Dame Fairbairn whilst writing for the Daily Mail, made it clear she thinks employees should return to their place of work, as people like “barbers and brewers” cannot work from home.
In addition, due to the lack of workers in offices, UK city centres have become “ghost towns” and she urges the Government and employers to encourage staff back to their workplace.
In her 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.
Dame Fairbairn said:
The costs of office closure are becoming clearer by the day. Some of our busiest city centres resemble ghost towns, missing the usual bustle of passing trade. This comes at a high price for local businesses, jobs and communities.
There is also the question of fairness. Many employees, from barbers to brewers, have no option to work from home.We don’t want to see a new divide in our society – between those who can and can’t work from the safety and comfort of their homes.
They need to shout louder about safety measures in place, enforce the wearing of face masks on tubes, buses and trains, and support the introduction of flexible season tickets so people can return gradually without financial penalty.
And we urgently need mass widespread testing – including in the workplace – to help people feel confident and safe.
The head of the CBI asked Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to “do more to build confidence” to get people back in to their offices.
Dame Fairbairn also outlined, despite the advantages of flexible working, she believes it carries a disadvantage, especially for younger employees as they benefit from face-to-face learning in the office.