In response to the Government’s updated guidance on working from home where possible, as part of its ‘Plan B’, Peter Cheese chief executive of the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, said:
"Many businesses and their people have learned how to work remotely at scale and at speed during the pandemic so will be well placed to respond to this change in guidance. Reducing the number of people in workplaces when they can work from home is the sensible thing to do while infections are climbing and we’re still learning about Omicron, keeping individuals safe and businesses staffed.
"Where people can only do their jobs from a place of work, flexibility on how and when they work can help to minimise exposure to other people. Measures like flexible hours and staggered start times will help to avoid overcrowded spaces both on the commute and in the workplace – as will increased safety measures on site, such as changes to workplace configuration and requiring staff to wear masks in certain contexts.
“The duty of care as employers extends to company organised social events as well. We’d encourage organisations to follow the spirit of today’s revised guidance and to avoid any in-person end of year parties, while recognising individuals are still free to meet in a personal capacity.
“Early evidence also shows the importance of people getting their booster jab, so employers should continue to support their staff being able to access vaccines. This may mean being flexible on hours worked and offering paid time off to attend appointments.”
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