Return to office needs trust - not warnings
By Rob Freeman | 2nd September 2020
Companies fighting the economic rigours of the coronavirus pandemic do not need any lectures from the Government, according to one regional business leader.
Business West's Gloucestershire director Ian Mean said while Prime Minister Boris Johnson exhorts business to get back to offices, he cannot assume it is the right course for all companies.
And he said the Government must be wary of implying there might be pressure on employees who have chosen to work at home.
Adam Marshall, director of the British Chambers of Commerce - of which Business West is a part - said "mature conversations" were needed between employers and employees rather than government warnings.
He said: "Businesses have worked hard to build up trust with their people over the last six months. They've learned what works and what doesn't".
Mr Mean believes what works is employees' trust in their bosses.
He said: "That trust is based on management appreciating that their safety, health and wellbeing is paramount. Nothing more, nothing less.
"That doesn't mean I don't believe the economy will benefit greatly by more people going back to their offices rather than working from home.
"But the safety of employees from this deadly disease is of greater importance than the saving of sandwich bars and cafes."
He continued: "After months of confused messaging from government to work at home if possible, they will find it difficult for many employees to have the confidence to return.
"We do not want to see ghost towns and cities.
"But it is up to business to call the shots about their own companies and the safety of their employees who trust them. They know best - not the Government."
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