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Returning to the office? What is your company policy

Failed Unit

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Just interested now we are at freedom day what is your company policy for returning to the office? (of course no need to name the company)

Mine are still "watching". They have asked people to come in this week to clear personal artifacts from desks. When (no date decided) we return we will need to book a desk for a day in advance. We will be allocated said desk and if you want to sit near a particular colleague you need to put this on the request. No date for the return and sadly masks are mandated.

A lot of us are working perfectly fine from home, but some people do not have a good place to work (they are working on a kitchen table in a shared house or hunched up in their bedrooms) so I suspect they will be the first in the queue to return. I am waiting for HR to clarify the mask policy and what happens if you are exempt as this is the bit that is putting me off returning otherwise I would be back as soon as they opened the doors.

But in summary - they are in no hurry but trying to make space available for staff that don't have satisfactory environment to work at home from. (I do wonder if we will see an increase in RSI generally with people working in sub-optimal offices)
 
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nlogax

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Offices being reconfigured in time for a September reopening. Meanwhile we can meet colleagues and clients anywhere we like.
 

westv

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Their template plan is either 3 or 4 days in office and 1 or 2 days wfh or 5 days in office.
They have asked all staff to discuss preferences with their managers by 1/8. They originally said they wanted work plans discussed and implemented by 1/8 but now they have said they won't mandate a return by that date.
 

SteveM70

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Official overarching policy is a move to “hybrid working”, but the specifics will vary by department and in many cases by role.
 

kristiang85

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We are being discouraged to go back before the end of September, and in the meantime we have to wear layered masks and keep 2m distance.

Needless to say, although I miss the office, I'm not going in often whilst these rules are in place.
 

philjo

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We are being discouraged to go back before the end of September, and in the meantime we have to wear layered masks and keep 2m distance.

Needless to say, although I miss the office, I'm not going in often whilst these rules are in place.
Same for us. Current working from home arrangements remain in place until the end of September for those that were able to work from home.
It was agreed last month that some of us could go on site one day per week but only 1 person per team could be in the particular office on any specific day.
2m distancing is strictly enforced on site.
It looks like some the open plan offices will be converted into bookable collaboration spaces for those working on projects. So going forward it is unlikely those not on a current project will be allowed on site more than 2days per week for the foreseeable future.
 

3rd rail land

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Wen have been able to go to the office throughout the oedemic providing we get it authorised by an appropriate manager and male our plans known in advance to the relevant person, usually a receptionist so numbers can be managed.

From 19th July we can go to an office without authorisation but it is entirely optional. I know many people who live nowhere near an office and in fact I know some people who have never been to a company office at all.

Masks have never been required, I've never seen anyone in the office wear one, but the rule of 6 people to a room was enforced and only certain desks could be used to allow for distancing.
 
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Smidster

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We have been told default to work at home till September

Then from Sept 21 to Sept 22 expectation of 4-8 office days per month (so 1-2 per week)

Then from Sept 22 expectation of 8 office days (no max) per month.

No word yet on the conditions we will face (e.g masks / testing / VCOD)
 

3rd rail land

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I don't understand companies that are instructing employees to work a minimum number of days in the office. What are they hoping to achieve?

Unless one arranges for all or the majority of their team to be in the office at the same time then I really can't see the benefit.
 

YorkshireBear

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I don't understand companies that are instructing employees to work a minimum number of days in the office. What are they hoping to achieve?

Unless one arranges for all or the majority of their team to be in the office at the same time then I really can't see the benefit.
There is very varied results in working from home and some managers want to see staff. Not from a lack of trust but from a, WFH they often don't ask questions and mentoring is hard. Certainly something we are finding. Each to their own though.

Ours is use until September to prepare and discuss what hybrid option works for you. I've asked for five days in office (have been back 4-5 days per week since last October but only 2 out of 40 in office). And I will get 5 days they have confirmed but we are moving to hot desking so I will permanently book a desk.
 

northernchris

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We received an email yesterday to advise no changes until January. There is one office site which can be used in the meantime for anyone who would benefit from being onsite. Masks aren't required unless working for a prolonged period in close proximity, and I can't really think of many scenarios where that's likely to happen.

We've been told that long term there's a guaranteed desk for anyone who wants one, and the surveys seem to be favouring a 60/40 split between home and office working.
 

birchesgreen

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No change to my WFH so far, mask wearing is still required for those in the office. I suspect any changes will be slow, its a family business and the owner's son died from covid a few months ago which i suspect will make them cautious.
 

3rd rail land

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There is very varied results in working from home and some managers want to see staff. Not from a lack of trust but from a, WFH they often don't ask questions and mentoring is hard. Certainly something we are finding. Each to their own though.

Ours is use until September to prepare and discuss what hybrid option works for you. I've asked for five days in office (have been back 4-5 days per week since last October but only 2 out of 40 in office). And I will get 5 days they have confirmed but we are moving to hot desking so I will permanently book a desk.
I wouldn't mandate a minimum number of days in the office but rather have a rule saying you must go to the office if your team/line manager wishes to meet you in the office. New starters going to the office to meet colleagues or get mentoring does make sense.

I do appreciate some people have poor home working conditions such as working from their kitchen table or from the corner of their bedroom and will want to be back in the office ASAP.
 

island

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At the company where I work, the policy (which I helped to write) is:
  • Staff whose contracts state they are office-based will be expected to spend on average 40% or more of their working time in the office. This is to facilitate collaborative working and spontaneous collaboration. It is also based on advice from our tax professional around rules on permanent workplaces.
    • Anyone wishing to spend more or indeed all their time in the office is welcome to do so. As we are a bank, albeit not a retail one, some functions have needed to be carried out from the office throughout.
    • The start date for this has twice been postponed and it’s currently slated to take effect from 6 September.
    • We have some staff who are permanently home-based and nothing changes for them.
  • Because of (pre-COVID) redundancies our office is already large enough to accommodate everyone desirous of coming in without need to revert the separation of desks so we have left this in place for the time being.
  • Staff are encouraged to take LFTs twice a week and to respect the wishes of others who still prefer to keep their distance.
  • We banned visitors to the office other than essential maintenance until 19•JLY•21.
We have never required masks though naturally anyone wishing to elect to wear one has been welcome to do so. A staff survey on the matter came back strongly against them. This also drove the no-visitors rule as we would legally all have had to mask up whilst any visitors were on the premises (though not of course since this week).
 

westv

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That's the second time I've seen mention of tax and permanent workplaces. I assume this must relate to very high earners or some other non general working arrangement as I have never heard of it before.
 

Failed Unit

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That's the second time I've seen mention of tax and permanent workplaces. I assume this must relate to very high earners or some other non general working arrangement as I have never heard of it before.
Not really, you may have heard about the wfh allowance which is people were saying you should claim if you can't attend your office

You may be able to claim tax relief for additional household costs if you have to work at home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week. This includes if you have to work from home because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

You cannot claim tax relief if you choose to work from home.

You may be able to claim tax relief for:

  • gas and electricity
  • metered water
  • business phone calls, including dial-up internet access
You cannot claim for the whole bill, just the part that relates to your work.

 

westv

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Not really, you may have heard about the wfh allowance which is people were saying you should claim if you can't attend your office
I know about that (and have claimed it) but the poster who mentioned tax really can't have been talking about that - well I assume they weren't.
 

roversfan2001

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We've just been informed that WFH will continue until at least the end of the year, with some departments WFH permanently. Presumably the aim is to cut down on office space and have certain teams at home when it's more suitable. For the people in the office, nothing changed on Monday. Still masks and distancing etc.
 

island

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Which still leaves the tax issue a mystery. :D
I’m afraid I have not had sight of the said advice and it would not be appropriate for me to request it, so I can‘t shed any more light on the matter.
 

deltic

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Offices have been open for some time - have to book a space at least 24hrs in advance and you are allowed to attend a maximum of 3 times a week to allow everyone who wants to come in can do so. Face masks are only required when walking round the office. There is no pressure to return to the office and hybrid working is expected going forward. Great to be an office with air-con in this weather and super fast broadband
 

westv

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I’m afraid I have not had sight of the said advice and it would not be appropriate for me to request it, so I can‘t shed any more light on the matter.
I'll guess then that its a company scam to make sure their employees think they have to be in the office at least 40% of the time then. :p:D:D:D
 

Failed Unit

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Most of the tax implications are for the company. Just spoken to an accountant. For me personally it will make little difference. I can claim expenses to travel to the office, but not the home working allowances. For the company it is totally different policy on liability for office equipment. But will leave that for the next thread.
 

James H

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My firm (a big plc) had been intending to move to an interim phase of one day a week in the office (on a per-team basis) from 19 July. This has been delayed until 16 August at the earliest.

From September we are supposed be moving to a 60 / 40 pattern of office / WFH across the month.
 

westv

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We have now been told that, despite being inferred previously, there will be no flexibility regarding the "hybrid" working arrangements. It must be either 3,4 or 5 days a week in the office. They have also said there will be no flexibility in working hours - 9-5. Due to my location I could be eligible to apply for a permanent wfh contract but that would involve a reduction in benefits. What that reduction was and whether I could find out before applying (if I wanted to) my manager didn't know!
This all needs to be done and dusted by 1/8 for everybody to return by1/9. I think we have around 350 staff in our City office.
Edit: 5 day a week office will return for everybody when "things get back to normal".
 
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nlogax

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Going out for offsite meeting and lunch with colleagues today. Actual physical colleagues. These are people I've not seen March 2020...exciting stuff!
 

LancasterRed

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We have now been told that, despite being inferred previously, there will be no flexibility regarding the "hybrid" working arrangements. It must be either 3,4 or 5 days a week in the office. They have also said there will be no flexibility in working hours - 9-5. Due to my location I could be eligible to apply for a permanent wfh contract but that would involve a reduction in benefits. What that reduction was and whether I could find out before applying (if I wanted to) my manager didn't know!
This all needs to be done and dusted by 1/8 for everybody to return by1/9. I think we have around 350 staff in our City office.
Edit: 5 day a week office will return for everybody when "things get back to normal".
Shambolic. This is why unionisation is important, there must be room for flexibility in modern ways of working.
 

bengley

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Shambolic. This is why unionisation is important, there must be room for flexibility in modern ways of working.
Although I agree with you on the union point as a union man, I disagree with your reasoning.

I really don't see any reason, after COVID is no longer a serious threat, why people cannot and should not return to the office full time if either they or their employers want that. People have been working from home for safety reasons and there will no longer be a (COVID) safety argument.
 

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