No Plans to Return to the office for Millions.
Fifty of the biggest UK employers questioned by BBC have said they have no plans to return all staff to the office full-time in the near future.
Some 24 firms said that they did not have any plans in place to return workers to the office. However, 20 have opened their offices for staff unable to work from home.
It comes as many employees return to work from the summer holidays with the reality of a prolonged period of home working becoming increasingly likely.
The BBC questioned 50 big employers ranging from banks to retailers to get a sense of when they expected to ask employees to return to the office.
One of the main reasons given for the lack of a substantial return was that firms could not see a way of accommodating large numbers of staff while social distancing regulations were still in place. Many companies said they were offering choice and flexibility to those who want to return, particularly in the banking and finance sectors.
A few firms have already announced they have no plans to return to the office until late autumn, and Facebook has said it does not plan a return of employees until July 2021.
Some smaller businesses are deciding to abandon their offices altogether. Tara Tomes runs a PR agency with an office in the heart of Birmingham’s business district.
Her team of eight cannot fit in the space they have if they are to obey social distancing guidelines and she will not be renewing the office lease in September.
“I personally don’t want to force my team back onto public transport,” she told the BBC. “Not having four walls around us won’t change the dynamic or culture of the team. If anything it will make us more pioneering in the way the world of work is going.” She said that the money saved on rent and utilities and the time spent not commuting were other benefits to giving up the office.