Despite the civil service having been declared at the forefront of a return to work as Covid restrictions were removed, many in the public sector are still working from home, it is reported
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Tens of thousands of workers in the public sector are being allowed to indefinitely work from home despite calls from the government for them to return for the good of the economy, it is reported.
A hybrid working environment has now appeared to have taken a hold from top Whitehall mandarins to civil servants around the country with as little as 40% of working time in offices.
Despite Covid lockdown restrictions having been removed and nothing to stop workers from heading back to offices it is so far not happening with offices empty for much of the time up and down the country in the public sector.
Many publicly-funded organisations had fewer than 10% of staff in offices, while some had none at all, the Daily Mail claims.
And in Whitehall where ministers have been told to get people back into offices, some departments have fewer than half their staff present.
It comes as back in January the Cabinet Office Minister called for civil servants to return to Government departments to “boost staff collaboration and help support local businesses”.
The Cabinet Office said it would “lead the way in a return to office working.”
Downing Street’s Chief of Staff, Steve Barclay, stated : “Now we are learning to live with Covid and have lifted Plan B measures, we need to move away from a reliance on video meetings and get back to the benefits of face-to-face, collaborative working.
“I’m grateful to the Civil Service for managing the challenges of the last two years. It is important that we now see the maximum use of our office space being made from next week, as we build a strong recovery after the disruption of the pandemic.”
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But the Daily Mail claims that 20 government agencies and Whitehall departments only demand workers are present twice a week while some are even given £18 a month towards heating bills and money to buy desks and chairs.
Arguments have also been put forward for why it would be better for civil servants to work from home or have a hybrid system in place, including from the thinktank the Institute for Government.
But former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said working from home had to end.
“These civil servants need to stop being selfish and to get back to the office. Ministers need to start insisting because there is now no need for them to not be back. Everyone else is back,” he reportedly said.
“Businesses in central London in particular rely on people coming back into the office. On top of this, if you work from home you are not as productive – most firms recognise this. It’s also important for mental health to meet people and not be stuck at home.”