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School’s back but work’s STILL out for millions

Schoolchildren across England and Wales return to the classroom today for the first time in six months, a day after MPs returned Westminster. The Prime Minister took these events as an opportunity to encourage Britain’s workforce back into their regular places of work as millions continue to work from home.

With many businesses looking to bring teams back either from furlough or from an extended period of working from home, nationally representative research from Theta Financial Reporting across 2,000 UK workers found that 35% of Brits say going back to work in a traditional office environment will have a negative impact on their mental health, which in turn will negatively affect their productivity.

Key stats·

· Nearly three-quarters of Londoners – 70% – do not feel comfortable commuting to work via public transport anymore and think it will be one of the most stressful parts of their day

· 57% of people in London do not want to go back to the normal way of working in an office environment with normal office hours

· Over a third of Londoners – 36% – say their company will return to the office with a smaller team with people handling more varied responsibilities

Chris Biggs, managing director of Theta Financial Reporting, has given his advice employers looking to bring their staff back safely:

“If you are being encouraged back to work this week, it is perfectly natural to feel some trepidation. However, employees are tentative and want to make sure that their teams are both safe and can continue to work productively, even if there is a second wave. In order to bring people back to offices either off furlough or from permanent working from home arrangements, there are some steps you should take:

Ask your team

First of all, get the input of the team. Businesses should look to gauge their employee’s attitudes on how they want to work going forward, their concerns and desires. A collaborative approach will be far more beneficial to the company than forcing a decision made onto people without consultation.

A new working model?

Second, you should consider a mixed model moving forward, with some home working and some office-based work. Mixing shift patterns carefully and in a coordinated fashion will help distance staff and make them feel safer. Office spaces may need redesigning, allowing staff to collaborate safely, and office hours may need to change to avoid peak travel hours.


Third, make sure your safety and safeguarding measures are robust. Ensure you have hand sanitizer in the office at all times, appropriate social distancing and temperature measurements, but be aware to adhere to data protection and GDPR rules if you plan to gather information such as the temperatures of employees. These steps should help team members feel safer and ​more confident about returning to the office.”