The Prime Minister has announced that the government’s ‘work from home’ message is set to end on 19 July, when COVID restrictions across England are due to be lifted.
Although the change in policy does pave the way for employers to start planning for a return to the workplace, Mr Johnson stopped short of urging people back to the office. As yet, it remains unclear how different companies will respond to the government’s new guidance.
A BBC survey of large employers conducted in May, for instance, found almost all of the 50 firms questioned were not planning on bringing staff back to the office full-time. More recently, a number of companies, including Asda and NatWest, confirmed that they will continue to allow some flexibility for office-based employees, while the Bank of England is only asking its staff to return to the office for one day a week from September.
Commenting on the policy change, CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese said, “Freedom Day shouldn’t signal a mass return to workplaces, but it could signal the start of greater freedom and flexibility in how, when and where people work. It should be down to individual organisations, consulting with their people, to agree working arrangements after the end of restrictions.”