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IWFM Chief Says First Working Day of 2022 is a ‘Missed Opportunity for Millions of Office Workers’

IWFM Chief Says First Working Day of 2022 is a ‘Missed Opportunity for Millions of Office Workers’
04 January 2022

Research from the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management indicates that not everyone is being afforded their first choice of workplace today.

Tuesday 4 January is the first working day of 2022 for many, and according to the latest research from IWFM, more than half of office workers had expected to be back in the office today, and three quarters would have been back by the end of this week.

1,180 working UK adults and 878 office workers were asked about their working preferences, and the majority (73 per cent) who took a break over Christmas were content or excited to return to the office this week.

Just over a quarter (27 per cent) were not looking forward to their first day back. Overall, just 16 per cent of office workers expected to stick with the majority home working after restrictions were lifted, in contrast to last year when eight in ten information and communication professionals worked from home.

IWFM is warning employers that they owe a legal duty of care to protect the health, safety and welfare of all their teams working at home. One in five (20 per cent) reported that their health had suffered in 2021 as a result of working from home.  One in three (33 per cent) complained that their employers had failed to equip them to work effectively from home. One in six (15 per cent) of us saw our productivity decline in 2021.

Linda Hausmanis, CEO of the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, feels that the first working day of 2022 is a missed opportunity for millions of office workers and for UK business: ”Three quarters of us will be excluded from our first choice of workplace this week. Of course it is right that public safety comes first, but the costs to the economy and people’s health from poorly planned work spaces must not be forgotten.

“Hybrid working should offer the best of two worlds but for far too many of us it offers the worst of both. Younger home workers are especially at risk from isolation and a lack of safe working spaces. If hybrid is the future as most predict, employers must step up, review their workplace strategies in relation to the learnings of the last two years or risk losing their workforce to resignations and illness.”


Train Passengers Delayed in UK


For those who are heading to the office, cancellations, reduced services and delays are all to be expected, thanks to COVID-19 isolation absences.

ScotRail, CrossCountry and LNER are all running reduced services and Managing Director of ScotRail Alex Hynes told the BBC that said the usual 2,000 services a day would be reduced this by 160 (8 per cent) from Tuesday 4 January.

Current coronavirus rules mean that those who test positive must self-isolate from the first day of symptoms for a full ten days, although two negative lateral flow tests on day six and day seven of isolation can mean ending this early. This has caused widespread workplace absences, with 1,189,985 people testing positive in the UK between 28 December 2021 and 3 January 2022, a 50 per cent increased on the previous week.

Plan B restrictions are due to be reviewed on Wednesday 5 January.

Picture: a photograph of Linda Hausmanis

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 04 January 2022


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