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Can we force our employees to return to the office?

Can we force our employees to return to the office?

Can we force our employees to return to the office?

With the government removing the last of their Plan B measures, those working from home are no longer required to do so. Subsequently, many people have either returned to the office this week or are planning for a return to the office from February 2022.

Several employers are receiving pushback from employees when asking them to return to the office. Whilst there are pros and cons of working from an office and working from home, ultimately, the decision lies with the employer, and they can demand their employees to return to the office – Providing they abide by other relevant duties such as ensuring the office is a safe workplace to be in and the appropriate COVID-19 risk assessments have been carried out.

Although legally, there is no entitlement for employees to work from home, it is important to remember that employees do have rights which must be taken into consideration. For example, the entitlement to make flexible working requests.

We would advise employers to consult with employees to identify any potential concerns they may have and try to reach an agreement that works for both parties. This will reduce the risk of creating a negative workplace culture leading to long term issues.

A phased return is being used by most businesses to ease their employees back into the office. Specifically, for those who have worked from home for several months now or even since March 2020. This option would reduce the likelihood of employees feeling frustrated if, for example, they are no longer used to their commute. For businesses, they will start to see their employees working alongside one another again and connecting in a way that is difficult to do through a screen.

Contact our specialist Employment solicitors

If your business is struggling to cope with pushback received from employees, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Employment Team on 0330 175 7608, or email employment@ibblaw.co.uk