Coronavirus: Businesses call on UK government to adapt economy for increased home working

British employers say they plan to keep increased home working after teh pandemic.
British employers say they plan to keep increased home working after teh pandemic. Copyright Lenovo via AP
Copyright Lenovo via AP
By Euronews
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Nearly three-quarters of UK employers polled recently say they would be keeping increased home-working after the coronavirus pandemic.


Nearly three-quarters of employers say they plan to increase home working after the pandemic is over, according to a new survey.

Among those who have already started to use their workplace less, more than four in ten said that working from home was proving more effective than their previous set-up.

It comes from a survey of more than 950 directors interviewed last month by the Institute of Directors (IoD).

Furthermore, 43 per cent also said that they intend to continue making greater use of flexible working such as compressed hours once the government recommendations to curb the spread of the virus are lifted.

The British government advised late last month that "office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter".

Faced with an upsurge of new infections, the government also banned social gatherings of more than six people, tightened rules around mask-wearing and announced fines for people not respecting quarantine requirements.

To help businesses and the economy adapt to increased home working, the government should take a number of steps, the IoD argued on Monday.

The organisation urged the government to improve tax incentives for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) such as tax reliefs for research and development.

"Any remote-working set-up is only as good as the technology that enables it. Alongside continued investment in digital infrastructure, the Government should give small firms the headroom to invest in the latest equipment and software," Roger Barker, Director of Policy at the IoD, said in a statement.

"The restrictions have spurred significant innovation, but low revenues and high costs could put a lid on this," he added.

The IoD also argues that the government should lower employment costs to boost employment or help more firms retain staff and improve access to leadership and management training.

It also stressed that more home-working could raise legal questions around employers' responsibilities for staff outside the office.

"The benefits of the office haven’t gone away. For many companies, bringing teams together in person proves more productive and enjoyable. Shared workspace often provides employees the opportunity for informal development and networking that is so crucial, particularly early on in a career.

"Looking ahead, it seems more and more companies will take a blended approach to where they work. Any transition can cause challenges, and the Government should look to ease this. In the long run, greater flexibility could benefit both business and worker alike. However, it's crucial that the legal and economic implications of this change are grappled with from the start," Barker said.

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