IWFM urges caution as PM encourages more workers to return to offices
17 July 2020
On Friday 17 July, the Prime Minister announced a further easing of lockdown restrictions in England as part of a plan for a "significant return to normality" by Christmas.
Under the new guidelines, people may use public transport for journeys immediately, while employers will have more discretion to bring staff back to workplaces from 1 August - if it is safe to do so.
Chris Moriarty, IWFM Director of Insight, commented:
‘As the Prime Minister encourages more workers to return to the office, businesses must consider that the past few months have seen a considerable and perhaps permanent shift in our working practices. Our research suggests many are not keen to return to their pre-lockdown working routines, with the number of employees not wanting to return to the office nearly doubling since the start of April.
‘As we slowly return to a “new normal”, businesses must ensure that office based versus remote working is not seen as a binary choice. Employers must make efforts to provide staff with the right level of support to work effectively in whichever work setting they choose. Policies should offer the choice and flexibility to work remotely or return to the corporate space in a flexible manner to maintain employee engagement and retain talent. Our research shows that almost 75% of workers want more flexible working options when they return to the corporate work environment.
‘With 43% of employees concerned about having to revert to a costly commute, it’s also important to recognise the financial pressure commuting places on many workers, particularly those in the London region. We urge the Government to work closely with rail partners and local authorities to provide further incentives to get people back onto public transport.’
Find out more about IWFM’s YouGov research into workers’ experiences of and attitudes towards remote working during lockdown here.