‘Work from Home’ not included in new Omicron restrictions for England

Working from home is not part of a new package of measures in force from today to combat the new “most worrying” covid-19 variant yet, Omicron.

Since 4am this morning, there is once again the legal requirement for people to wear a face covering in shops and on public transport across England.

There is also the requirement of PCR tests on or before day 2 for international arrivals; self-isolation until a negative result, and self-isolation for contacts of suspected Omicron cases.

But the package does not include a revival of the ‘work from home’ instruction, despite the government cautioning yesterday that it will review the measures in three weeks.

'Stress and chaos of pandemic-working from home'

Kate McCarthy-Booth, founder of McCarthy Recruitment, is among the noticeable number of agents who sound relieved that ‘WFH’ is not currently one of the England-wide restrictions.

“As leaders, we’ve underestimated the stress this chaos that the pandemic and working from home has had on our teams,” she said yesterday, mainly addressing end-clients.

“Supporting your team pays, and in more than just results…because economies will recover and so will your business, but ONLY if you’re willing to put your people first.”

'Tired of candidates shunning roles if WFH not allowed'

James Cox, managing director of Chelsea Personnel Ltd, has said that candidates asking to ‘WFH’ was unheard of “before covid” but now, too many are at it.

Taking to LinkedIn, and posting before Omicron emerged he said: “I am so tired of hearing people tell me that they don’t want to go forward for a role because it does not allow them to work from home.”

“You want to work from home!? So you don’t have to get dressed at 6am? So you can save money on travel? So that you can watch Loose Women on your lunch break?”

'Many people prefer working from home'

For different reasons, it seems, Digital Skills Ltd managing director Mike Cheeseman is another who sounds pleased work from home isn’t yet being mandated again.

“I don’t like working from home. It is not for me…I never feel like I have truly woken up.

“I get badly distracted when the kids are about and don’t even start on the fridge, it is like Medusa, calling me to open the door. Many people prefer WFH, but it simply isn't for me.”

'I'm down with covid too'

Others in the contract or IT sector just sound determined to not be affected, surely helped by this not being the first time that the pandemic, or restrictions, affected their lives.

Contractor accountant Darren Fell reflected yesterday: “So the kids are both down with it, my lovely wife is down with it and not to be left out, I'm down with Covid now too!

“[But] I flatly refuse to let it stop me, however. And am still hard at it.”

'Don't feel the need to extend your hand'

Ahead of a summit and awards ceremony in Rome which her company Emstream Ltd is attending, tech entrepreneur Melissa Lindsay reflected: “Lots [of you are] asking about the impact of new restrictions….[but] there is no change to our agenda and [we] looking forward to seeing everyone.

“However -- we will be encouraging everyone to join us in taking extra safety precautions and please don’t feel the need to extend your hand for a handshake. It’s really not rude not to during a pandemic!”

Earlier this week, the chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency, Dr Susan Hopkins told the BBC that, due to it having almost 30 different mutations, Omicron is "the most worrying we've seen," in terms of identified coronavirus variants.

Meanwhile .gov.uk indicates that the government last updated its ‘Working Safely During Coronavirus’ guidance on November 9th, albeit solely to "improve readability" for workers in the construction, events and attractions industries.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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