U.K. HR association responds to government's push to get employees back to work
The U.K. government is set to launch a media campaign that will encourage employers to demonstrate how they are providing a safe return to work. The move is prompted by many businesses in the downtown areas that are suffering because of the lack of people at work.
With the campaign, the government asks employers to reassure staff it is safe to return by highlighting measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to the BBC.
In response, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is asking employers to consider if it is absolutely necessary for them to ask their workers to go back to the workplace before doing so.
"The government’s drive for individuals to return to their workplace should not leave them feeling pressured or duty-bound to do so,” said Peter Cheese, CEO of CIPD.
Any employer contemplating such a return, he says, should only do so after considering the following:
- Is returning to the workplace essential?
- Is it sufficiently safe to do so?
- Is it mutually agreed with the worker?
In Ontario, 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among working-age adults can be attributed to workplace transmission, according to the Institute for Work & Health (IWH).
Working from home has proved to be a great success for many individuals and organizations, says Cheese.
“Recent CIPD research found that a majority of employers believe that homeworkers are either as productive as other workers, or more productive.”
However, it’s important that all employers take steps to support employees' mental health and address concerns they may have while they work from home, he says.
“Managers should be regularly checking in with their staff, discussing their well-being and, wherever possible, ensuring decisions over working from home or returning to the workplace are based on individual choice and preference,” says Cheese.
"Effective test and trace is also key for a safe return to workplaces and people who are asked to self-isolate should receive adequate compensation so they don't lose out financially.”
Nearly half (45 per cent) of working Canadians say they would prefer to work remotely at least three times a week, according to an ADP Canada survey.