After the announcement, Peninsula are getting queries on which clients need to send their staff home from Monday. The first thing to say on this is that it isn’t law and so employers should follow the Government guidance on this instead.
This is the new Government wording on working from home in England:
“Office workers who can work from home should do so from Monday 13 December. Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work – for example, to access equipment necessary for their role or where their role must be completed in person. In-person working will be necessary in some cases to continue the effective and accessible delivery of some public services and private industries. If you need to continue to go into work, consider taking lateral flow tests regularly to manage your own risk and the risk to others.
Employers should consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment.”
It seems employers may have some flexibility for keeping some office staff in the workplace with this part: “In-person working will be necessary in some cases to continue the effective and accessible delivery of some public services and private industries”.
Employers will need to consider whether the “effective and accessible delivery of their service” is dependent on people working from the office. Where employers are leaning towards not sending people home because they think that delivery of service is not effective when done from home, they might want to think about:
The above should also be considered by employers whose staff can work from home, but they are wondering whether they want to go through the rigmarole of actually implementing homeworking for what might be a short period (initial indications show it might be 6 weeks but with a review after three weeks), i.e., “Do I have to do it”?
On the other hand, employers who want to send people home need to think about:
Employers should support those who have been negatively affected in terms of mental or physical health in previous enforced homeworking periods and consider allowing them to continue to work in a Covid secure office, after taking all reasonable measures to ensure their safety in other ways, e.g. The commute – let them have a parking space so they can drive to work instead of using public transport.
The last point is real for when a home was flooded. I had arranged for office coverage at home – thank goodness. If you take out cover, please check your excess.