Workers could get legal right to work from home in ‘workplace revolution’ to make sure they are not forced to go back after lockdown
- Officials modelling plans on rules that allow new parents to request flexibility
- It will make it easier for those in to the office to carry out safe social distancing
- Ministers hope that it will also reduce commuter congestion on public transport
The right to work from home could be enshrined in law so that staff can continue operating remotely after lockdown.
Whitehall officials are modelling the plans on rules that already allow new parents to request flexible working.
It will make it easier for those who do go in to the office to carry out safe social distancing.
Whitehall officials are modelling the plans on rules that already allow new parents to request flexible working (file photo)
Working from home increases productivity, survey says
Employers may be concerned about productivity now millions are working remotely due to the coronavirus.
But a survey found business may be thriving since the change.
Researchers asked over 1,600 individuals how they have adapted to working at home and one-third said they are more productive than when in the office.
Respondents noted they now have better control of their time and how much work is completed.
On the other hand, those who feel isolated or rely on others to do their tasks reported being less productive.
The analysis was based on data from more than 1,600 respondents to an online questionnaire.
It was made up of 75 per cent women and 25 per cent men who were mostly from Quebec in Canada.
Ministers hope it will also reduce commuter congestion on public transport. The proposal reportedly has their support.
One told the Telegraph: ‘It makes complete sense.’
The move will likely go down well with in newly-acquired Conservative seats from the December election.
PM Boris Johnson, in his 2019 party manifesto, committed to giving the workforce the right to more flexibility.
It said: ‘We will encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.’
The idea dates back to a review by political strategist Matthew Taylor in 2017, in which he wrote: ‘Encouraging flexible work is good for everyone and has been shown to have a positive impact on productivity, worker retention and quality of work.’
The government replied in 2018 with ministers saying ‘as part of the statutory evaluation of the Right to Request Flexible Working in 2019, the Government should consider how further to promote genuine flexibility in the workplace’.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady (pictured) said the right to work from home would be a ‘big step forward’
If the law is passed, companies will only be allowed to refuse a home-working request if the employee’s tasks can only be done in the workplace.
Employers will also be asked to pay for face masks for staff who return to the office.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the right to work from home would be a ‘big step forward’.
Liberal Democrat frontbencher Layla Moran added: ‘I believe this change would benefit both the employees and the employers, and has the potential to be a win-win.’
Liberal Democrat frontbencher Layla Moran (pictured) said: ‘I believe this change would benefit both the employees and the employers, and has the potential to be a win-win’
A Government spokesman said: ‘The Business Secretary continues to work with businesses, union leaders and the science and medical community so we can ensure workplaces are safe for those who will go back to work once the measures are relaxed and give people the confidence to return to work.’
Trade unions warned in a report last week that two in five workers feared not being able to socially distance themselves from colleagues on their return.
A Government spokesman said it was drawing up measures to ensure workplaces are safe for when lockdown measures are relaxed.