WFH - your views wanted

ended 10. February 2022

Following the government’s announcement that self-isolation rules could be axed by the end of this month, a journalist at the Mail Online is keen to get responses from companies that work in offices to the three questions below. Deadline is ASAP! View from HRs also welcome.

  1. Will you end WFH completely once all restrictions go or will it continue for some staff? If the latter, on what basis?
  2. After the legal requirement to self-isolate ends, what will your sickness policy be if someone calls in and says they have Covid? Will they be allowed to stay at home and work there/take sick leave?
  3. If an employee says they have Covid, will they be asked to provide proof of a positive test?

 Keep your responses short and sweet!

17 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"We're offering staff a results-only work environment, one where they can work wherever they feel most comfortable at a time they feel most comfortable. There is no need to mistrust people who work for you. After all, if you don't trust them, why employ them? The same goes for testing positive for Covid. I don't need to see a "Covid Test Selfie". If someone calls in sick, then they are sick, same as any other illness, it's that simple. They'll make the work up when they're better. 2022 is about treating people with kindness and dignity."
Star Quote
"The pandemic changed everything and particularly the way I manage my team. We will continue to choose whether we go to the office or work from home as our productivity during the past two years has definitely accelerated. Although I guess if heating bills increase anymore, people will be returning in droves to the office! If anyone has Covid we will pay them to stay at home. It is counter-productive to infect the rest of the team and have more people off sick. The world of work has changed - there is no 'normal' to return to."
Star Quote
"I'm working on our financial model at the moment, and renting a big office space is not in it. Our company was born just before the pandemic and has grown through it without the need for a formal office. I don't see that changing any time soon. I think that the boom will be in modern flexible meeting spaces and offices where you can meet up for a day or two as a team to solve big challenges together."
Star Quote
"We will 100% be working from home. The last two years have made us realise that we work just as efficiently this way, and losing the cost overhead of the office means some improvement in team benefits without increases to our budget. As all our team work from home anyway, if someone tests positive they will remain working from home. Clearly if Covid is badly affecting them they may take some time off or reduce their hours for a period of time. I 100% trust my whole team, so no need for them to provide me with proof that they have Covid."
Star Quote
"We operate an adult environment and we are very flexible. Our employees can either work from home or the office whenever they like. We also let them work their own hours. We trust our employees and if they say they have Covid we don't expect them to send proof to us. I am vulnerable with an auto-immune disease and having had Covid already I really do not want it again. I think it is very irresponsible of the government to not make people self isolate if they have the illness. My stepfather is immuno-suppressed and if he catches it, he could die."
Star Quote
"If Covid has taught us anything, it has to be that flexible working arrangements are good for everyone. There will always be a need for human connection so finding the balance between WFH and a team environment will be key to making sure we stay connected to each other and respectful of ourselves and our families. We are all unique so everyone’s working environment will look different. What's important is that businesses embrace a world that empowers people to balance their work and home lives in a positive way."
Star Quote
"We will continue with the hybrid working pattern we have implemented, which has certain times where we bring everyone together physically. If one of the team has Covid, they will need to work from home, but only if they are well enough to work. We won't be asking for proof of tests as we treat our employees as adults and we trust them in the way that they trust us."
Star Quote
"The world, and the world of business, have progressed since the pandemic. We've learned that presenteeism does not lead to greater productivity and that remaining flexible is key. Our new hybrid co-working space has seen an increase in both levels of happiness and productivity across the company, so we will continue to offer this going forward. Despite the upcoming removal of COVID restrictions, we will encourage employees to work from home or take sick leave if they are experiencing viral symptoms."
Star Quote
"We are bringing everyone back to the office full time on Monday 28 February 2022. Everyone is very pleased and looking forward to coming back to the office. Our whole team has been great at working from home and providing a fantastic service, but now is the time to start the new-normal and grow and develop in new ways, which we know are best done together."
Star Quote
"We are sticking with a hybrid working model regardless of restrictions here. Once the legal requirement to self-isolate ends, I will also still be letting staff work from home if they return a positive test, to keep others safe. Lastly, we would not ask for proof of a Covid test, as we actually trust our staff. Imagine that!"
"We will continue offering WFH for those staff that prefer that option. In fact, I think it will be difficult, especially given the current labour shortages, for businesses to insist on all staff returning to the office. WFH actually offers us a big advantage in terms of dealing with Covid as staff with mild Covid symptoms could continue working from home. Being flexible minimises business disruption."
"During the pandemic, we had to re-evaluate everything as a company. We are now all working from home and do not have an office at all. As a mortgage brokerage, a lot of our clients are from across the UK, and therefore prefer to speak to us over the phone, or via Zoom. I think my staff are more productive working from home. We don't have set hours and they work when they are able to. We have all the structure in place to allow for WFH and do not intend to change that."
"I think this requires a pragmatic and simplistic approach. What works best for your company and employees? Does working from home provide your company with the outputs it requires and do your staff even want to work from home? Ours prefer to be in the office with maybe one day a week at home and our business benefits from that approach. 'Horses for courses' though. "If someone is truly feeling poorly with Covid then yes they should always stay at home if they deem themselves as 'sick'. If they feel well enough and there are no restrictions, then we would be happier if they stayed at home to work but again it depends on the needs of the individual business. Not all companies can afford to offer that as an option. We do not expect people to provide proof of Covid unless it continues for longer than the self certification period. They will be managed under the same sickness policy regardless what the sickness is. Pragmatism is best, a one size approach does not fit all businesses and people."
"We have consulted with all staff regards working from home versus going back to the office. All staff voted unanimously to continue to work formfromhome. Therefore when restrictions end all staff will continue to work from home. We retain use of meeting rooms at our serviced offices in both Bristol and London. COVID has changed the way in which we do business and 95% of our business is now conducted online and by telephone. We do not foresee a return to the full time office working environment. "As a small business, we can adapt quickly to changes as was the case with COVID. Our sickness policy means that anyone who is ill is not required to return to work until they are feeling better. Having staff work from home does, however, mean that they can continue to work if they feel well enough to. "Working from home we do not have to worry about the spread of COVID among staff. We do not require proof of a positive test."
"We've constantly banged the drum on the benefits of having a team working together in the same place. We are proud to be a business that has an office that will remain open for business where the team can collaborate and contribute effectively and meet clients in person. There's something about the buzz of a full team chatting about last night's TV or just being creative with new ideas. Once the restrictions are fully removed, we'll continue to support our staff with working from the office. The benefits for their own mental health, the structure of having a working day help support the blurred lines of working and living in the same place. Whilst we won't enforce the working from the office policy, we accept there are times when working from home can be beneficial and we will support that if it is the right decision." For anyone that tests positive for COVID and is unwell as a result of it then we'll recommend as with many other illnesses or times when staff are not feeling 100% that they take the time to recover, if they want to work from home during that time we'll be wholly supportive of that, no need to send us test results. We trust our staff to do the right thing!
"For many employers, it will be a case of keep calm and carry on. Managers will have to apply huge dollops of common sense. That said, employees who knowingly attend work when they have had a positive COVID result, now that will keep employers on their toes, so watch this space."
"WFH is here to stay it seems, and that is fine as long it works for both the employer and employee. On the whole, there is a huge amount of trust between employers and employees regarding sick leave and if someone is well enough to work, they should. Equally, if they're not, they shouldn't. We do not currently ask for proof of a positive Covid result."