The biggest employers lack the space for workers to return to a socially distanced office

The main reason holding large businesses back from asking employees to return to the office during the COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of office space to allow staff to socially distance from each other.

This is according to the BBC who asked 50 of the biggest employers regarding their plans for workers returning to the office.  Just under half (24) said they do not have any plans in place for their staff to return to the office.

Still, 20 firms said their offices have reopened to allow employees who cannot work from home to come back in.

Another 20 companies have gradual plans in place for their staff to return and 3 have already brought back staff with no plans for more.

Facebook has already stated that it has no plans for employees to return to work until July 2021. The banking and finance sectors in particular are offering flexible working for those who wish to return.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Midlands, an accounting and consultancy firm who have just moved in to office space in Birmingham’s Chamberlain Square which can house 2,000 people. Despite this, at the moment it only has 150 staff working inside it. However, PwC has said that office space is vital especially for younger workers.

Matthew Hammond, chairman of the Midlands region for PwC said:

We have colleagues who may be working at the end of their bed or on a return unit in their kitchen. That is not sustainable or healthy for the longer term. As employers we invest a huge amount in providing the right environment, the right seating, the right technology so people can be at their most productive.

Back at the end of May, HRreview asked; would implementing socially distancing means you have to buy more office space? With the answer being yes, as Protecting.co.uk, a health and safety software company predicting a rise in business owners looking to open additional offices to allow workers to return to work in a safe fashion.