1 in 5 workers forced into workplaces needlessly

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Government advice remains to work from home if you can but it seems the message isn’t getting through to bosses, according to a survey by the TUC.

The YouGov commissioned survey found that one in five Britons (39%) are still going into work – despite these workers saying they can do their job from home. This could be as many as 5.6 million workers who are working from offices or other workplaces needlessly.

TUC's General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “No-one should be forced into the office or another workplace if they can do their job from home. Bad bosses are needlessly putting workers at risk – and increasing transmission in local communities.”

The findings comes after research shows that more people going into work in this lockdown may be partly responsible for the slower recovery from the latest wave of Coronavirus.

1 in 5 workers say they've been required to go into workplaces when they could have done their job from home. Photograph: iStock

According to Imperial College London patterns of infection have been fluctuating and there has been only a slight decline in infections. Although issued on 28 January, the report says this could be due to “factors such as more people going to work and a higher number of children in school” as well as the new variant. 

Professor Paul Elliott, director of the REACT programme at Imperial, said: “We’re not seeing the sharp drop in infections that happened under the first lockdown. We all need to stay at home wherever possible and help bring the virus under control.”

TUC says ministers must re-emphasise that every job must be done from home if at all possible, tell workers that they should contact HSE if they're being forced into workplaces and for those calls to be followed up with spot checks.

The union is also concerned that workplace guidance hasn't been updated since issued in March 2020. New risks around aerosol transmission means "current protective measures recommended for many, particularly public-facing workers, are inadequate." 

The survey was carried out by YouGov on behalf the TUC and polled 2,068 adults, of which 979 are currently in employment.



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