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Almost a third of employers reopen workplaces

Three out of 10 employers are now actively reopening their workplaces for employees who cannot work remotely, according to a new survey.

Could this be the end of hotdesking?
Could this be the end of hotdesking?

Employment specialists XpertHR surveyed 275 HR professionals between May 19 and 20.


The research found that while four out of 10 said nothing had changed following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s call for a return to work, nearly one third were reopening for some or all staff.


It also found that many employers were moving cautiously, indicating that they would try to get employees back in to work team-by-team to keep people safe or would allow employees to continue to work from home where they wanted to do so.


However, in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland employers are holding back and waiting to reopen only once the devolved governments change their advice.


Among those organisations currently using the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, 42 percent hope to reduce the proportion of their workforce on furlough by bringing them back into the workplace over the next two months.


Among the measures being taken to protect employees as workplaces reopen:

  • 81 percent are adopting COVID-secure measures including enhanced hygiene procedures and social distancing;
  • 70 percent are limiting numbers of workplace visitors;
  • 64 percent are staggering start and finish times and breaks;
  • 56 percent are ending hotdesking or equipment sharing.


Despite these precautions, the survey found that HR professionals anticipate a range of problems as they ask people to return from homeworking or furlough arrangements:

  • 72 percent expect employees to be unable to return due to caring responsibilities;
  • 66 percent think employees will be reluctant to return to the workplace;
  • 46 percent say there will be problems balancing annual leave requests with business needs.
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