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When can office workers return to work?

Daily Express logo Daily Express 4 days ago Georgina Laud

On Monday Prime Minister Boris Johnson laid out the path out of lockdown, revealing key dates for schools returning, non-essential shops opening and Britons being able to socialise. Speaking from Downing Street Mr Johnson said: "Thanks to the vaccinations there is light ahead, leading us to a spring and a summer, which I think will be seasons of hope, looking and feeling incomparably better for us all."

Signifying the slow return to normality, from March 8 all pupils in England's schools are expected to return to class, with increased implementation of face masks and testing in secondary schools.

Also from March 8, socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person will also be allowed.

Mr Johnson said: "This is not the end today but it is very clearly a road map that takes us to the end."

He told a Downing Street press conference it would be a "one-way journey, we very much hope".

Read More: When will universities reopen?

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: When can office workers return to work? © GETTY/PA When can office workers return to work?

However, the next stages of the roadmap are dependent on coronavirus data, and meeting four tests:

  • the success of the vaccine rollout
  • evidence of vaccine efficacy
  • an assessment of new variants
  • keeping infection rates below a level which could put unsustainable pressure on the NHS

From April 12, non-essential shops, nail salons, hairdressers, outdoor attractions, outdoor hospitality and libraries may be allowed to reopen if the four tests are met.

a person sitting at a desk in front of a computer: Lockdown roadmap: Woman working from home © GETTY Lockdown roadmap: Woman working from home Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie: Lockdown roadmap: Boris Johnson © GETTY Lockdown roadmap: Boris Johnson

When can office workers return to work?

As yet there has been no guidance issued for office workers returning to work.

The return to working in an office environment may depend on each independent business, with updates likely issued for those working from home.

Mr Johnson has assured there is enough vaccination supply to get every adult the first dose of the coronavirus jab by the end of July which could go towards helping workers return to the office.

Speaking at the press conference Mr Johnson said: "We've got to make sure that we have the supply in place for everybody to get their second vaccination within 12 weeks, as well as giving every adult, as we said already, a vaccination by the end of July.


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"We do believe we have the supplies in place to keep up that rhythm and that timetable.

"And we're looking the whole time to source more where we can from our suppliers according to the contracts that we've already signed."

Video conferencing and instant messaging has become the new norm over the past year, with many working from home since March 2020.

However many have now got used to working from home, and would not like a return to full-time office work.

a woman standing in front of a laptop: Lockdown roadmap: Working from home © GETTY Lockdown roadmap: Working from home text: Lockdown roadmap key dates © EXPRESS Lockdown roadmap key dates

Research by AlphaWise at US bank Morgan Stanley found UK workers said they wanted to spend an average of 2.4 days per week working remotely in the future.

And more than six in 10 (62 percent) of office workers believe they will go back into the office around June 2021.

They surveyed 12,500 people across the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy - 2,500 in each country - at the end of January.

Morgan Stanley said: "Despite vaccine rollouts and tighter lockdowns, this estimate has moved later in all countries surveyed since the last survey from December, by around 1.5 months, and now stands around June, on average.

"Clearly, this will not only impact office utilisation in 2021, but the leisure and retail property that depends upon the return to normal commuting patterns."

Key dates in lockdown roadmap

  • March 8 - Children can go back to schools, socialising in parks and public spaces with one other person permitted.
  • March 29 - You can meet up to six people, or two households, outdoors. Organised sport can take place. Stay home turns into stay local.
  • April 12 - when shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens may reopen.
  • May 17 - when two households or groups of up to six people may be allowed to mix indoors and crowds of up to 10,000 in the largest venues will be allowed at performances and sporting events.
  • As soon as possible" and no later than step three, when ministers committed to reviewing social-distancing guidance that has prevented loved ones from hugging for nearly a year.
  • June 21 - when all remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted, larger events can go ahead and nightclubs could finally reopen.

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