Coronavirus: Work-at-home change ‘can have devastating influence’

Lone commuter at Canary Wharf station Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Commuters have nonetheless not returned in massive numbers to London’s monetary districts

Business teams have reacted with dismay to the prime minister’s name for folks to work at home the place they will.

The CBI mentioned that it was a “crushing” blow that will have a “devastating impact”.

It marks a change in coverage following a authorities promoting marketing campaign to get folks again to work the place protected.

Campaign group London First mentioned it might discourage folks from returning to workplaces and danger “derailing an already fragile recovery”.

‘Crushing blows’

CBI director-general Carolyn Fairbairn advised the BBC: “We know we need to avoid a second national lockdown at all if we possibly can, but I have to say these are crushing blows.

“The influence on people who find themselves coming again into their workplaces, the influence on metropolis centres, so depending on the bustle of metropolis life, our inventive industries – this can have a devastating influence on folks and companies.

“And I think that the answer for business, and what I’m hearing in my conversations this morning, is make it a short, sharp shock if it has to happen.”

Appearing on the Emma Barnett Show on Radio 5 reside, she mentioned she was chatting with the programme from her workplace and that “about 15%” of her folks have been in.

“They’re excited about coming back, we need to plan to bring more people back. It’s good for morale, it’s good for learning, it’s good for creativity and so many businesses are feeling that, so this is a backward move that won’t be welcomed, and let’s make it as short as it needs to be.”

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Public transport continues to be a fear for many individuals

“The new restrictions must be regularly reviewed to minimise the damage to the economy while safeguarding the health of the nation in the round – not just physical health, but mental health and our economic health, said London First chief executive Jasmine Whitbread.

She also called for the government to extend business rates relief and to introduce a “focused” version of the furlough scheme, which is due to end on 31 October.

As well as the change in stance on working from home, Boris Johnson also confirmed that pubs and restaurants in England will have to close at 22:00 from Thursday to stop the spread of the coronavirus. He warned that the new measures could last up to six months.

Ms Whitbread said: “A focused model of the furlough scheme would assist these hardest hit in leisure, retail and hospitality.”

Roger Barker, director of policy at the Institute of Directors, said the spread of coronavirus was not wholly predictable, but the “backwards and forwards” on office working would cause “frustration”.

He added: “Business leaders are looking forward to the federal government to deal with the foundations, points like childcare, public transport, and getting the testing system firing on all cylinders.”