In December 2021 guidance was introduced that meant employees should work from home “wherever practical”. It has now been announced that these restrictions will be eased on 31 January 2022. Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement due to a decrease in Covid infections across the country.
The recommendations are that employers look at a hybrid model in which employees divide their time between their home and the office. The government has urged caution and would not expect to see a mass return to the office on this date. There is also no fixed timetable for when all employees should return to the office.
The message here is that it is up to employers how they decide to organise their staff but the government is encouraging some level of return due to “benefits to both employees and employers, and to the economy as a whole” according to the First Minister.
Many clients have been requesting hybrid working policies and it is important that employers really think about what they want the working landscape to look like going forward. ‘Hybrid working’ does not have a set definition and can mean different things to different businesses. Some clients want a clearly defined 50/ 50 split between home and the office while others are leaving it totally up to the employee’s discretion what days they do or do not come in to the office.
For those employers who wish to return to pre pandemic working there may be challenges ahead. The so-called Great Resignation means that the job market is currently skewed towards employees and flexible working may be an important prerequisite to many job hunters.
It is crucial that employers take stock and consider all these factors when thinking of the most balanced approach.
If you have any questions on any of the issues mentioned in the above article, please contact Natalia Milne.