Am I going back to the office?


I recently had a conversation with a senior manager of a company asking for P3 Business Care support as the decision had been made that all staff were returning to the workplace Monday to Friday.

In this month’s blog we look at some of the current thinking around the return to the physical office location.


  • Can employees be forced back to the workplace?


The CIPD gave the following advice in relation to the above.  For employees who continue to be reluctant to come into work, from a legal standpoint, on the one hand, under the Employment Rights Act 1996 employees can claim that they have suffered a detriment on health and safety grounds, or claim automatically unfair dismissal if the employee reasonably believes there was a serious and imminent danger which justifies their refusal to return.


On the other hand, in all employment contracts there is an implied term that employees must follow their employer’s lawful and reasonable instructions. Employees could therefore face disciplinary action if their continued refusal to attend work is unreasonable.


  • Employees are vocalising the need for a flexible working option


Nearly half of employees would consider leaving their job after the pandemic if their employer did not offer flexible working, research has found.


A poll of 1,000 UK workers, conducted by EY as part of its 2021 Work Reimagined Employee Survey, found that four in five wanted flexibility where they worked, and 47 per cent went as far as to say they would consider changing their jobs if flexible working wasn’t an option.


When asked about what sort of flexibility employees wanted, 39 per cent said they would like more choice in when they work, and 43 per cent wanted choice in where they worked.


The EY research found the increase in flexible working since the pandemic has also led to more demand for technology. Two-thirds (64 per cent) of employees said they want better technology in the office, such as faster internet and videoconferencing capabilities, and almost half (43 per cent) want companies to upgrade at-home hardware, such as extra monitors and headsets.


The research also found that, despite the increase in virtual meeting technology, more than two-thirds of workers would like to travel for business after the pandemic.

But, despite wanting more flexible working arrangements, almost eight in 10 (79 per cent) of people were satisfied with their jobs, and 88 per cent planned to stay in their current roles for another 12 months.


  • Career progression less of a priority post-pandemic


Career progression has become less of a priority for nearly half of employees since the start of the pandemic, a study has found.


The poll of 1,000 employees by Aviva found that 47 per cent said they had become less career focused as a result of the pandemic, and almost seven in 10 (69 per cent) said that flexible working would play a more important role in their future career choices.

However, not every worker polled said that their work-life balance had been positively affected by the changes brought by the pandemic.


While just over a third of workers (35 per cent) said they felt their work-life balance had improved during the pandemic; a fifth (20 per cent) said it had been negatively affected; and a similar proportion (21 per cent) said it had negatively affected how they felt about their job.


About P3 Business Care


P3 Business Care is a Community Interest Company and social enterprise operating across the UK. Supporting your business on a weekly basis we provide personal and proactive care to your employees working in partnership with the company. Our Business Partners visit your business developing trust & relationships so we can identify and address issues before they become crisis, absence, or staff turnover.  Read more about our services here

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