I’m sure you’ve heard that on 19th January, the Government announced a change back to PLAN A restrictions in England and the guidance to work from home ended immediately. The government are now recommending employees speak to their employers about arrangements for returning to the office. COVID case rates remain high and working from home may continue to be the new normal for most office-based staff for some months to come. 
In Wales, from 28th January, working from home remains important but moves from law to guidance. 
You will still need to take account of the government guidance on working safely during Covid-19, together with your legal duty to manage risks to those returning to workplaces. You may need to take some time to review your existing risk assessments for office-based working and assess what has changed. 
If you have temporary working from home arrangements in place, it would be a good time to review these and discuss with the employee if they are going to be made permanent, revert back to previous arrangements or a new arrangement put in place, such as hybrid working. 
Remember, if you have employees working from home, you need to carry out a risk assessment depending on the type of work which is being undertaken at home and agree if any adaptations need to be made. For employees whose work is largely on computers the risks are likely to include feelings of isolation, a lack of supervision, physical issues arising from prolonged use of display screen equipment and working long hours and/or inadequate breaks from work. Also consider any possible data protection and security risks. 
In addition, a trial of a four-day week has launched in the UK in a bid to measure whether employees are more productive with longer weekends.  
Around 30 UK companies are taking part in a six-month trial of a four-day week, where employees will be paid the same amount as if they were working their usual five days. The trial will measure whether employees can operate at 100% productivity for 80% of the time. 
If you’d like to discuss any of the above points in more detail, then please get in touch on sue@suebaileyconsulting.co.uk
Tagged as: 4-Day Week, COVID-19
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