Waterloo, empty.

Covid disruption. The office as we knew it is gone.

Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that I’ve been commentating on remote working for over 25 years, and I refer you to an article I wrote on remote working in 2017, including references to the benefits for people with reduced immunity and for disease control.

Three key points

  1. Social restrictions are likely to be in place for all of 2020. “A vaccine and drugs are unlikely to materialise until next year and until then some form of social distancing will be required, according to Prof Whitty.” This means some people must work remotely in order to maintain appropriate distancing. Your office procedures need to cater for hybrid working.
  2. People who are shielding may need to shield until there is a vaccine. Because they have a government letter saying they must stay at home, the impact to their health will be just the same until there is a cure for their condition or a vaccine for covid19, therefore the same timescale above applies to them as the vaccine is likely to arrive first. The Health and Safety of employees is the responsibility of the employer therefore no responsible employer would want vulnerable people to travel and endanger their health when there is a government letter saying they should stay at home. Legal action is undoubtedly going to arise especially from unionised workers put at risk unnecessarily.
  3. People with disabilities which ordinarily meant they could work normally but who have reduced immunity also have the protection of the Equalities Act 2010 (UK legislation) where an employer is expected to make reasonable adjustments to cater for disabled people (Part 2, Chapter 2, Section 20). When the reasonable adjustment is working from home which everyone has now been able to do, then disabled people just need the system to not go back to the way it used to be.

What’s the impact of this?

When I wrote in 2017 that MacMillan cancer said people with reduced immunity should avoid public transport, the same advice applies now.

Future scenarios

Distributed working (or hybrid working) are likely to be the default position for many and the law is there to back this up.

Freelance IT Professional, Lean Agile Coach. Wrote UK's first guide to getting online. Non Exec Director. From Dunblane, Perthshire. www.craigcockburn.com