United Kingdom

Workers can ask to work from home on day one of new job under new plans

Ministers could allow workers to be able to ask employers to let them work from home on the first day of the job under new proposals.  

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) wants to let millions of workers request flexible working as soon as they start, instead of the current six-month period.

The proposal was initially planned before the 2019 general election but could now be announced within a few days amid the rise in remote working over the pandemic. 

Under plans considered by minsters, millions of workers will be able to request flexible working as soon as they start, instead of the current six-month period

News of the plans comes after a new poll revealed more than two thirds of people think that workers will never return to the office full-time after the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 70% of people surveyed by YouGov for the BBC said workers would 'never return to offices at the same rate' as before the pandemic.    

Discussing the proposals, one Whitehall source told Sky News: 'Flexible working can make work more accessible to under-represented groups such as women, disabled people, parents and carers, giving employers access to a wider pool of talent.' 

A government spokesperson said: 'As is set out in the 2019 manifesto, the government is committed to consulting on making flexible working the default unless employers have good reason not to - boosting business productivity and helping even more workers to join the labour market.'

'Our proposals will be published shortly.'

The proposal was initially planned before the 2019 general election but could now be announced within a few days amid the rise in remote working over the pandemic 

Boris Johnson previously revealed his 'Plan B' for tackling Covid over the winter and threatened to bring back wide-scale working from home rules if infections soared. 

The news sparked fury from pubs, shops and small businesses, but the BBC survey suggests that the majority of workers would still prefer to work from home either full-time or part time. 

A study from researchers at Microsoft released last week said that working from home reduces creativity, as well as communication and teamwork. 

And senior leaders surveyed by YouGov also warned continued working from home will damage creativity. 

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