No10 urges workers to tell their bosses if they want to come back to the office as banking giants including NatWest and UBS make plans to keep majority of staff working from home on a regular basis
- No10 said businesses had a obligation to offer staff ‘Covid-secure workplaces’
- NatWest is among banks telling staff they will not return to offices this year
- The rise in home working sparked fears for ancillary service industries
Downing Street said workers who want to return to their workplace should put pressure in their bosses to allow it today.
No10 said businesses had a obligation to offer staff ‘Covid-secure workplaces’ if they cannot work from home amid reports many City firms are plotting to retain home working into 2021.
NatWest is among banks telling staff they will not return to offices in London and elsewhere this year, while UBS and Virgin Money are considering not bringing back some workers at all.
The rise in home working sparked fears for the future of businesses and workers in ancillary service industries reliant on commuters.
Asked if the return of English schools next week should herald a wider return to work, the Prime Deputy official spokesman said: ‘We have been clear that if you can’t work from home you should speak to your employer and it is up to employers to provide Covid-secure workplaces so people can attend work where needed.’
Natwest is among banks telling staff they will not return to offices in London and elsewhere this year
UBS and Virgin Money are considering not bringing back some workers at all
Nat West Group has told told City staff not to expect a return to the office this year, the Financial Times reported.
It also claimed Virgin Money’s non customer-facing staff have been told they may work from home the majority of the time.
Lloyds Bank is also said to be examining the best use of its office space.
Stefan Seiler, the human resources chief at Swiss bank UBS told the FT: ‘We have proven that working from home is possible for most roles.
‘What is clear is that there will be more working from home, we will see more flexible work arrangements.’
Earlier this month it was revealed fewer British office workers have returned to their workplace than in any other major European country.
Little more than a third (34 per cent) of UK staff were back at their desks, with the remainder continuing to work from home.
This contrasted with 83 per cent of French office staff and 70 per cent of Germans, according to a survey by researchers at investment bank Morgan Stanley.
However, their analysis found that Britons who have returned to their offices are doing so for more days a week than continental rivals.
Almost half (46 per cent) of UK workers who have returned are working at least five days a week from their office, far more than in France, Germany, Italy or Spain.
The figures come amid a high street bloodbath with retailers experiencing massively reduced footfall.
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