Home working: Prime Minister Boris Johnson says return to office ok ‘IF you’re COVID-secure’

17th Jul 2020
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There appeared to be a significant shift this morning from the Prime Minister regarding working from home.

Employers are to get more say on whether they bring staff back to the office or keep them working remotely, with workplace safety guidance to change from August 1.

The move comes despite the UK's chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance telling MPs yesterday that there is "absolutely no reason" to change the guidance on working from home.

Under pressure to get the economy moving, with grave concerns raised by the Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey about empty offices deepening and prolonging the recession, Boris Johnson held a press conference to deliver an update.

Mr Johnson indicated it would be “safe to go back” but only if the workplace was “COVID-secure”, meaning compliant with the new rules.

Mr Johnson said: "Instead of the government telling people to work from home, we are going to give employers more discretion and ask them to make decisions about how their staff can work safely."

He said: "That could mean of course continuing to work from home, which has worked for many employers and employees, or it could mean making workplaces safe by following COVID-secure guidelines.”

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Mr Johnson added: “As we reopen our society and economy, it’s right that we give employers more discretion while continuing to ensure employees are kept safe.”

The Government has previously stressed it is critical that all employers are certain they can adhere to the new health and safety regulations if they intend to resume working in their usual workplaces again.

Some elements of the guidelines may be proving to be trickier than others to meet – depending on the size of your business premises and how many staff you have.

We’ve helped to make the process much easier by summarising the essentials in this handy quick guide for accountants, which you can download for free.

Among the areas you need to consider are:

  • Risk assessment paperwork
  • Restricting numbers of staff
  • Staggering hours/making rotas
  • Staff access: Lifts and staircases
  • More virtual meetings
  • Permanent desk spaces

Not sure what you need to do to comply? Need some assistance?

We cover all of the points above and much more in depth in our free-to-download guide, which will help you look forward with certainty.

If you’d like more help understanding the COVID-secure rules and adapting to the next normal, visit our resources hub here or call us on 0344 844 9644.

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Video: What is the next normal?