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Return to office? ’employee relations disaster’ says legal expert

Last week the Prime Minister announced the end of government guidance to work from home. But will we follow the advice?

Rebecca Thornley-Gibson, partner at law firm DMH Stallard and employment law specialist, thinks not. Describing it as a potential ’employee relations disaster’.

Rebecca said:

“The lifting of the Plan B Covid measures is unlikely to result in an immediate and full return to the office.

“Whilst many employees will be keen to return to workplaces where they enjoy the camaraderie and corridor chats with colleagues, the physical buzz of working life may not be quite so attractive to others who have embraced a more flexible approach to how they work.

“The removal of the work from home advice puts employers back into the same position they were in prior to Plan B being announced on 8 December. Many employers have spent considerable time, resources and money in moving to a hybrid working approach and giving employees more choice on where they work.

“Hybrid work arrangements carefully curated over the last 12 months are here to stay.

“Employees haven’t embraced hybrid working because they are fearful for their safety. They have welcomed it with open arms because it provides a choice to take the best elements of tried and tested work from home arrangements and still engage on a face-to-face basis with colleagues .

“The utopia of creating an individually designed working week is one that was out of reach for most pre pandemic and to remove that flexibility now from employees will be an employee relations disaster.”