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Employers should plan carefully for a return to office working

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Now that the legal obligation for home working has ended employers should conduct thorough risk assessments and follow the government’s Working safely during coronavirus guidance. From 19 July most businesses do not need to implement social distancing in the workplace or venue, and customers and workers do not need to keep apart from people they don’t live with.

The government is no longer instructing people to work from home on a nationwide basis, so employers can implement a return to workplaces. During this period of high virus rates, the government expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer and there may be additional advice in specific regional areas.

Employers should discuss the timing and phasing of any hybrid or full return with workers. It remains a priority to follow statutory health and safety requirements, conduct risk assessments, and take the  steps in the following six specific guides to manage risks in workplaces.

New measures for schools mean children will no longer need to self-isolate after close contact with a positive case. Working parents and employers alike will welcome this news, having experienced widespread disruption since the start of the pandemic. However, with cases rising and no vaccination programme for children, employers should expect further disruption and continue to find ways to support working parents.

In addition to health and well-being, employers should bear in mind the importance of inclusion and diversity in any decisions or plans made.

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