It is safe for people to return to the office, as working from home “has its limits,” the Secretary of Transportation said today.
Ahead of a major push next week to try to get more people back to the workplace, Grant Shapps insisted it was safe for people to start coming back.
He told Sky News that “common sense” will prevail and people should talk to their bosses about their return.
Whitehall bosses fear millions of people will stay at home, turn towns and inner cities into ghost towns and put more cafe and bar jobs at risk.
The Transport Secretary said this morning: “What we are telling people is that it is now safe to return to work and your employer should have made appropriate arrangements to ensure that the work is safe for you. coronaviruses and you will see some changes if you haven’t been in a while. ”
Anyone who is worried that their work is breaking the rules should turn to the Health and Safety Executive, he added.
He added: “It is absolutely clear that employers and employees need to work together to solve this problem. ”
It comes as:
Although he does admit that many businesses enjoy working from home and it has benefited some of their employees.
However, there was a “limit, just in human terms, to remote working”.
He emphasized, “There are things where you just need to trigger and come together to progress.
“So I think common sense will prevail between employers and employees. This is definitely what we have seen so far and I really think it will continue into the next week as people start to return to the office more often. ”
And the sanity of people stuck in cramped houses was also a major factor to play, he added.
But the government faces an uphill battle to get everyone involved.
A new report from Cardiff University and the University of Southampton, said 88% of employees who worked from home during the lockdown would like to continue doing so to some extent, with 47% wanting to do it often or all time.
And Mr. Shapps turned red today when he pushed the government’s back to work message – he was working from home.
Nick Ferrari from LBC called him, saying, “I’m in my office in central London and you are in your study? I’m back to work, Secretary of State, you’re not. ”
Meanwhile, government ministers and insiders have privately warned that not returning could endanger people’s jobs.
A government source told the Daily Telegraph: “People need to understand that working from home is not a benign option, it seems.
“We need workers to be aware of the decisions their bosses may be making in the coming weeks. If they only see workers once every fortnight, this could prove problematic for some employees in the future.
“We want employees to pay attention to the working arrangements they accept. Suddenly the word “restructuring” comes up and people who have worked from home find themselves in the most vulnerable position.
And a cabinet minister said: “There will be economic consequences of the shutdown. Businesses will find that some people weren’t working as hard as they thought… There is going to be a review of people’s productivity. ”
Next week, a nationwide ad campaign is expected to urge people to come back, similar to the huge spot where ads tell people to stay home during the peak of the pandemic.
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Mr. Shapps laughed and admitted “it’s true”.
“For the tour this morning, it’s working really well. Last week when I spoke to you at the same time… I was in Cardiff. ”
“I was actually going on an ad hoc basis throughout. ”