Boris Johnson tells Brits to get back in the office as he shelves work-from-home message
BORIS Johnson has shelved the work-from-home message and told the nation to get back to the office.
In a huge shift away from the current Government guidance – which tells people to work from home where they can and go in when they can’t – the PM said it was time for people to behave normally again.
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The PM said in a Q&A with the public, dubbed People’s PMQs: “I want people to be back to work as carefully as possible.
“It’s very important that people should be going back to work if they can now.
“I think everybody has sort of taken the ‘stay at home if you can’ advice – I think we should now say, well, ‘go back to work if you can’.
“Because I think it’s very important that people should try to lead their lives more normally.”
Mr Johnson added: “I wanted to see more people feeling confident to use the shops, use the restaurants, and get back into work – but only if we all follow the guidance.”
He said “some people have enjoyed lockdown” but that life should start to return to normal again.
But confusingly, the official gov.uk/coronavirus guidance tells Brits to “stay alert” by “staying at home as much as possible” and “work from home if you can”.
The PM said he hoped the recovery of the economy would “as V-shaped” as possible – after the Chancellor unleashed new measures to try and reboot Britain.
More businesses will also be allowed to reopen – with nail salons and beauty shops able to reopen from Monday, gyms and indoor pools to reopen from July 25.
Outdoor theatre will be able to resume from this weekend, and pubs, restaurants and hotels all reopened on July 5.
Brits have been working from home since March – with advice changing in May to tell people who can’t work from home to get back to work.
But most people have stayed working from home if they can, with buses, trains and tubes remaining eerily empty.
The advice from the Government tells people to “avoid using public transport” where possible.
Earlier today Health Secretary Matt Hancock said home-working should “be the norm” and even suggested he would consider forcing bosses to give their employees the option to work from home.
When asked if he would consider enforcing this through Government legislation, Mr Hancock replied “yes”, adding: “The way you could look at it is there’s a right to request flexible working.
“I definitely think it should be the norm where possible.
“We need to persuade people that allowing flexible working should continue. This is a change that is never going to go away.”
Mr Hancock also called for a study to be done into the “efficacy” of remote working, though he said the broader benefits of the practice – particularly for women – made it worth sustaining in the long-term.
“There’s a debate as to whether people work better when they’re working from home and it’s really difficult to know whether productivity goes up or down, but we’ve just had a massive experiment in that and we need to understand the answer to that,” he said.
“There’s a big argument that productivity has gone up during this when people are working from home, certainly in terms of well-being.”
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