The introduction of new COVID safety measures in England saw the return of a recommendation to work from home where practical, specifically advice that “Office workers who can work from home should do so from Monday 13th December”.
Working from home advice in Scotland and Wales has not changed.
The Government has now updated the official working safely guides for England to give further guidance on the new rules.
Under the new guidance the requirement is less strict than previous versions and takes a more flexible approach allowing employers and employees to make judgements based on what is practical, considering not only whether it is theoretically possible for a person to work from home, but also taking into account their home circumstances and other factors such as mental health.
As an example the revised guidance states:
“Anyone who cannot work from home should continue to go into work – for example, to access equipment necessary for their role or where their role must be completed in-person. In-person working will be necessary in some cases to continue the effective and accessible delivery of some public services and private industries.” And “Employers should consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment.”
This allows employers to tailor their approach to individual circumstances, however where individuals do continue to go into work the updated guidance does recommend that “they should consider taking lateral flow tests regularly to manage their own risk and the risk to others”.
Other updates to the guides include a reminder that people who are identified as contacts of individuals with a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant, must self-isolate, regardless of their age or vaccination status.
The latest guides can be found on the Gov.UK website at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19