Managing the impact of Covid-19 on the workforce has undoubtedly been the main priority for most employers in 2020. As we transition out of lockdown during 2021, and back to some level of office-based working, there will be a number of key considerations for employers to bear in mind:
- Making workplaces COVID secure and facilitating employees’ return in the immediate short-term.
- Whether it may be appropriate to require staff to be vaccinated against COVID before returning to work (or require proof of vaccination).
- Work-life balance in an increasingly connected work culture.
- Employee wellbeing and mental health in the context of the ongoing pandemic and continued remote working.
- Essential changes to contracts and policies.
Top of the list, and most pressing in the short term, are likely to be the questions of making workplaces Covid secure to facilitate employees’ return, and whether it may be appropriate to require staff to be vaccinated against Covid before returning to work. The latter in particular is a complex issue, which not only gives rise to health and safety considerations but also to issues of indirect discrimination and data protection obligations.
Also high on the agenda will be planning for long-term remote working and more flexible ways of working moving forwards; with high numbers of staff likely to want to maintain some level of remote and/or flexible working patterns post lockdown.
Linked to remote and flexible working will be the issue of maintaining work-life balance in an increasingly connected work culture. Pre-Covid, there was already a growing focus on this issue, as technological advances blur the boundary between professional and personal lives.
Finally, the issues of employee wellbeing and mental health, though already on the agenda of many employers, have been brought to the fore in the past year as an inevitable consequence of a global pandemic. Increased focus on employee mental health and welfare is likely to continue post lockdown as the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt and many employees continue to work remotely (even if only partially so).
With the above in mind, during this session we:
- Look at these five key considerations in more detail.
- Consider what the future direction of travel and best practice may be, particularly in a post-Covid context.
- Identify the potential legal risks and how to mitigate against them.
- Cover the information and guidance you need to carefully navigate these issues.
This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.
All content on this page is correct as of August 11, 2021.