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Coronavirus latest: 80% of home workers want to carry on after pandemic despite Government push to get staff back to the office

Written By - Mathew Woolley - August 06,2020

Coronavirus latest: 80% of home workers want to carry on after pandemic despite Government push to get staff back to the office

Most people working at home during the coronavirus lockdown say that it has made them more productive
Four out of five people who have been working from home during lockdown want to continue doing so after the pandemic is over, a poll has revealed.
Half of workers surveyed say they had already spoken to their employers about making the temporary arrangements permanent with a majority saying that they are more productive at home than in their regular workplace.
From next Saturday, the Government will officially drop the advice to continue working at home where possible in an attempt to encourage more people to return to the office. However, fewer than 40 per cent of Britons who have been working at home have been asked to resume normal arrangements.
Boris Johnson advised all workers to stay home if they can from mid-March, but that guidance will be revoked in England on 1 August with the onus shifting to employers to discuss with their staff how best to manage their work. In other parts of the UK, the advice to work from home remains in place.
Back-to-work push

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The Prime Minister is keen to see more employees return to towns and city centres because of the knock-on economic boost that commuters bring by patronising nearby cafés, restaurants, shops and pubs.
But research by Opinium found that among those who have been working from home more than usual during the Covid-19 pandemic, 82 per cent would like to keep doing so at least some of the time.
Another survey for i by Redfield & Wilton Strategies found that 61 per cent of workers have been at home during lockdown, and of them just under half have already spoken to their employers about the prospect of extending the status quo indefinitely. Despite the Prime Minister’s push for people to return to the office, only 38 per cent have been asked to go back.
Fifty-seven per cent of home workers said they were “significantly” or “somewhat” more productive at home than in the office, while 26 per cent said there was no difference. Only 15 per cent said home working was less productive.

‘New norm’
Experts are expecting a permanent shift towards home working over the coming years after the lockdown showed how much office work can be done remotely using digital technology. Chris Stark, head of the Committee on Climate Change, recently called for the Government to recognise the “new social norm” by cutting spending on roads and investing in telecommunications instead.
Working at home is seen as being better for the environment because it removes the need for commuting and also allows companies to vacate office buildings which would otherwise consume resources.
A spokesman for the Department for Business said: “We are asking office-based employers to consider whether work can be done safely from a Covid-secure workplace from 1 August. Whatever employers decide, they should consult closely with their employees and follow our comprehensive guidance to ensure their place of work is safe for those who return.”
The Government has been accused of mixed messages on home working after Mr Johnson started saying two weeks ago that workers should consider going back to the office in order to boost the economy. Last week advice to avoid public transport unless strictly necessary was withdrawn.