The IWFM’s chief executive has urged employers to take a ‘considered approach’ to any plans for a return to the workplace.
In welcoming the Prime Minister's statement earlier this week about the likely easing of lockdown restrictions from 19 July, with clarity on the Step 4 plans due this coning Monday 12 July, Linda Hausmanis warned that a likely move to voluntary social distancing could see employee preference for hybrid working come up against employer preference for re-occupying buildings.
“Whilst we welcome the clarity that the Prime Minister’s announcement will bring, we urge employers to take a considered approach when planning any return to the workplace, which workplace and facilities professionals are best placed to support and deliver,” said Hausmanis.
”With the current rise in coronavirus cases and significant numbers of the population not yet double vaccinated, the risk of staff having to self-isolate - and the associated effects on the business – will impact both business plans and how workplace and facilities management professionals will organise their workplaces.
“The pandemic has already had a detrimental effect on the mental health of many workers; what further impact would be caused by a forced return to the workplace?”
Hausmanis referenced IWFM research from earlier in the year that found significant employee interest in ‘hybrid’ working models.
“For many, the benefits of working from home outweigh any disadvantages. As our research has shown, nearly half of workers would look for a new job if they are not offered flexible working options.
“The ending of pandemic restrictions should provide the launchpad for new ways of working based on flexibility, freedom, individual choice, trust and confidence. The challenge and opportunity for our profession is to continue to ensure that work can take place safely and productively - wherever and whenever it is carried out.”