Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced that the UK will move forward with lifting its Covid restrictions on July 19.
While this means that employees will be allowed back into the office, some companies may continue allowing their staff to work from home or let them choose when they return to the workplace.
“If a business is saying ‘We want you back in now’, they’ve got to make sure they have business reasons for that,” said Kate Palmer, HR advice and consultancy director at the UK wing of global employment law consultancy, Peninsula. “An employee can say ‘I do not believe your request is reasonable because I believe in returning there is a serious and imminent threat to my safety.’ We’re seeing more employees asserting that right now.”
In addition to lifting restrictions, there will be new guidance on how companies can operate a safe workplace based on Health and Safety Executive (HSE) rules.
According to a survey from Accenture, 24% of financial service workers would prefer to work from home full-time in the future, and 69% would prefer to work two days or less in the office. Knowing this, employers need to prepare for the inevitable resistance that workers will be displaying if they are forced to return to the office.