The UK government is encouraging employees to return to their offices, as part of a push to help the recovery of the economy.
However, many experts across multiple industries believe that a blanket encouragement cannot be effective without a safe workplace to return to, as well as vital infrastructure and work/life balance support, such as schools successfully reopening, and public transport being safe to use.
One of the reasons that ministers want the UK public to return to their workplace is to boost the flagging economy of city and town centres such as cafe, coffee and restaurant industries.
UK’s Treasury secretary, Steve Barclay, said he had been “hugely impressed” by efforts made by businesses such as restaurants to make their workplaces safe, and said more firms needed to act.
“We’re keen to get people back in the office,” he told Times Radio. “We think that’s best for the economy, to get back to normal as part of our recovery.
“The whole purpose of the furlough scheme has been to retain that link between the employee and the business, and with people coming back as the furlough scheme starts to unwind. So we’re keen to see that take place. But clearly these are conversations that businesses will be having with their staff.”
Barclay said a continuation of a more flexible working patterns could bring some efficiencies, such as the rise in the use of online GP consultations.
“One of the consequence of the pandemic is that people will work in different ways,” he said. “Technology and how we use that to drive productivity is a good thing. So there will be changes in the way business operate.
“But at the same time there are some staff who want to get back into the office.”
Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said that while many people wanted to stop working from home, there was also an “appetite for a bit more flexibility and freedom at work”.
She told Times Radio: “I think we should be going for the best of both. Most people enjoy the banter, the creativity of being with their workmates. But they want more flexibility in terms of their hours, and the ability to work from home on occasion.”
It was not helpful to “try and scare people back to work by threatening with the sack”, O’Grady said, saying people faced pressures such as transport and childcare. She added: “We need to sort out some of those practical issues before just wagging fingers at people and telling them to get back to work. It’s not that easy.”
Adam Marshall, the director general of the BCC, told the station that central to any return to work was “a mature conversation between individual business and their employees”.
HOW TO BRING YOUR EMPLOYEES BACK TO WORK SAFELY WITH TENSOR TECHNOLOGY
The Tensor.NET Time and Attendance software is very flexible when it comes to the challenges of shift start and end times and your workforce management.
These measures are largely focused on reducing crowding in the workplace, so that you can adhere to a socially distant 2m between employees as much as possible.
• Stagger arrival / departure times (shift start/end times) to reduce crowding in and out: Shifts can either be fixed or flexible and can change automatically based on when an employee clocks in and out by using our auto selection shift system.
• Plan for the minimum number of people needed on site: Using our shift assignment screens you can roster staff based on skills and headcounts within a shift, section, cost centre or department. The software will advise if you would drop below your preferred level of cover on any given day.
• Monitor staff break times to ensure compliance: Use the powerful reporting capabilities within Tensor.NET to monitor staff’s break patterns and, if need be, implement specific policies to reduce crowding in the break rooms.
FIRE ROLL CALL – ADD MORE MUSTER POINTS/SWITCH TO TENSOR FIRE ROLL CALL (FRC) MOBILE APP
As workplaces reopen, evacuations and even drills will become another reason for concern.
Under the new guidelines, all employees will be required to keep a safe distance between them, even during potentially emergency situations. Tensor’s Fire Roll Call system can help you achieve this in two ways:
• Add additional Muster Points for Fire Roll Call: The Tensor system can easily accommodate more muster points, thereby decreasing the number of staff assembling at each point.
• Switch to the Tensor Fire Roll Call App (FRC): When using the Tensor Fire Roll Call app, employees can mark themselves safe from within the app without physically moving to a set muster point. This ensures that employees maintain a safe distance from each other.
We provide online product demos, as well as online training once products are purchased, so that no unnecessary contact will take place.