It has now been over a month since the Government introduced an official ban on all but essential travel outside of the home as part of the UK’s lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus. Only key workers should travel to and from work each day – all others should work from home where possible and non-essential shops, gyms, restaurants, pubs and bars have been closed.
Despite this, there are still employers that are insisting that their staff come into work, even though it is possible for their employees to work from the safety of their homes.
Once such employer was BT, which insisted that their call centre employees turn up for work, instead of working from home, which would make their staff, the public and key workers safer.
I joined over 50 cross-party MPs in writing a joint letter to Marc Allera, CEO for BT Consumer brands, to tell him that BT should allow and facilitate their staff working from home.
I am pleased to say that Mr Allera has listened to reason and BT has told MPs that it is now allowing the majority of its call centre staff, on average – 73%, to work from home . In terms of other BT office employees, the percentage of them working from home is set to be 80%.
This is a success for these employees, but also for public health in general. I hope that other employers take note of this and do the right thing, without the need for joint letters and public campaigns.