86% of people surveyed by Kings College London believe that employees should be able to choose to work from home until a vaccine for Covid 19 can be found.

As of 1 August, employers could ask employees who have been able to work from home since the onset of lockdown to return to their workplace, provided necessary steps have been taken to ensure the workplace is coronavirus secure and social distancing measures are in place.

The drive for this appeared to stem from the difficulties that town and city centre businesses are facing due to the lack of footfall of office workers - getting employees back to the office is seen as essential in helping the economy. Indeed, just a few days ago in an interview with LBC, London Mayor Sadiq Khan warned that small businesses were struggling with the dramatically reduced footfall and that empty offices are a 'big problem for central London'.

However, as the Kings College London survey shows, workers do seem to be reticent of a return and they are not the only ones. Employers are also considering the difficulties and costs associated with pushing staff to get back to the office and are considering alternative ways of working. 

The Telegraph has reported that FTSE-100 listed fund manager Schroders intends to allow its employees to continue working from home.  

In an internal memo seen by the publication, the City institution apparently intends to allow workers to choose when they are in the office, a considerable departure from the firm's pre-pandemic position that required staff to be at the City offices for a minimum of four days per week.

Alongside the concerns raised by charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support and Age UK earlier this month about vulnerable employees being forced to return to the office, it is becoming more evident that employers will seriously consider shifts in working patterns and that changes triggered by coronavirus will be made permanent.

If you have any questions regarding returning employees to the office or amending working patterns, please do contact Kemp Little's Employment Team.