THE country now needs to get back to the workplace, for all our sakes. I’m writing this from my Amshold Group office in Loughton, Essex.
All my people are back, apart from those on holiday. As soon as we were allowed to, my staff of around 40 returned.
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We reorganised the office, spaced out the desks and put in safety measures such as taking people’s temperatures as they arrive for work.
They are told that if they don’t feel well, then don’t come to work. People know how to act sensibly now.
And do you know what? People are happy to be back. Most people want to get up, get out of the house and go somewhere.
And they know the risk of catching Covid-19 has reduced significantly since the country went into lockdown.
As The Sun reported yesterday, official figures show the odds of catching the virus in England are about 44 in a million each day.
There’s a rapport in an office. The type of day-to-day dialogue that goes on in an office can’t be encapsulated in Zoom meetings or on email. It’s the actual interaction.
You don’t realise during the course of a day while working in an office how many questions you ask and how many are asked of you.
My people want to be at work, they enjoy talking to their friends and colleagues to discuss what’s going on with the football, what’s on telly, who’s going to win The Apprentice — all that type of stuff.
Younger people who work for me look over their shoulders at the more experienced employees and are trained by them.
They learn almost subconsciously by simply listening in on the conversations of others. We are teaching them all the time. How’s that going to happen if you’re with a company that’s working from home?
I do believe that an air of complacency has been created during this emergency. The worst offenders? Civil servants who should be setting an example to the rest of the country.
Go to Whitehall and the place is half empty. Where are they all? The Government needs to say: “Get your ar*es back in there now”. Same with local councils. Big business isn’t helping either.
The Government is starting to encourage people to get back to work but then you’ve got big banks and City organisations like NatWest who told 50,000 staff they can work from home until next year.
Why did they do that? Why? These large companies saying, “Don’t come back until next year” is not very helpful. It’s sending out the wrong message.
I think there was a genuine need at the height of the crisis for people to work from home and for some people, yes, that may be the future for them.
CITY LIKE A MORGUE
But now the City of London is like a morgue. There are so few people around it looks like a bomb has been dropped.
It’s like manna from heaven for some City slickers, sitting in their flat somewhere with their PC allegedly working 24/7.
But it’s a disaster, a crying shame for the poor traders there like the retail shops, bars and restaurants that depend on these workers. They are in real trouble.
The West End of London could lose £10billion a year and have to get rid of 50,000 jobs because it’s so deserted, according to figures out yesterday.
We need people walking around again and spending money to boost the economy. So these huge companies have a responsibility to get their people back in their offices.
They should be encouraging and giving confidence for their employees to return to work environments that have been made as safe against Covid as possible.
Like my returning employees, they will likely find a workforce raring to go. They’ll find their staff will be more creative, better trained and it will be better for their mental health.
The whole world can’t go virtual overnight. These big companies can’t shut their workers away from society. They have a responsibility not just to shut them away and count the profits.
We’ve all been educated on the sensible things to do regarding social distancing and washing your hands regularly. If you’re going in on the train, wear a mask — why not?
And be conscious of not touching your face. The Government banged on for a long time that if you can work from home, then do so. Now they need to really change their tune.
They now need to say: “Go back to work, even if you can work from home.” They should be insisting people go back.
And the big companies should also be telling their staff to come back and that they don’t want them to work from home.
Our economy and our kids’ futures depend on it.
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