Boris Johnson is launching a campaign to get Brits back into office as ministers warn working from home will make them more ‘vulnerable’ to being sacked.
The push to get people back into the office is set to begin after schools reopen next week.
It will include reassurances on the safety of workplaces and make the ’emotional case’ for going back, including the mental health benefits of being around colleagues in person.
As the UK tried to kickstart its economy following the coronavirus lockdown, the Prime Minister worries empty office buildings could slow down the nation’s recovery.
A Government source told the Telegraph: ‘People need to understand that working from home isn’t the benign option it seems. We need workers to be alert to what decisions their bosses may take in the weeks ahead.
‘If they are only seeing workers once a fortnight then that could prove problematic for some employees in the future. We want employees to be careful what working arrangements they accept.
‘Suddenly the word “restricted” is bandied about and people who have been working from home find themselves in the most vulnerable position.’
A new online tool is reportedly being planned to help people avoid crowded trains and busses on their commutes.
Heat of the CBI business lobby group Dame Carolyn Fairbairn warned this week that working from home as left many city centres looking like ‘ghost towns, missing the usual bustle of passing trade’.
She added: ‘This comes at a high price for local businesses, jobs and communities.’
In May the Government ditched its ‘stay at home’ slogan and replaced it ‘stay alert’, which was seen by many as a much more confusing message.
Then in July Boris Johnson urged members of the public to go back to work if they can and to live their lives ‘more normally’, provided employers follow Covid-19 safety guidelines.
But despite efforts to push people back to their desks, many compaies aren’t planning to ask people back to the office until next year.
Other plan to work from home for the foreseeable future due to lower costs.
Labour’s Shadow Business minister Lucy Powell said it was ‘beggars belief that the Government are threatening people like this during a pandemic’.
She added: ‘Forcing people to choose between their health and their job is unconscionable. Number 10 should condemn this briefing and categorically rule out any such campaign.’
TUC union group general secretary Frances O’Grady added: ‘Not everyone has the space or peace and quiet needed to work from home.
‘Many staff would prefer to get back to the office. But the Prime Minister must do more to give people confidence it is safe to return.
‘We need to have a fast and reliable test and trace system and we need better enforcement of transport safety and workplace risk assessments.’
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