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UK gov under fire for mixed remote work messaging

Businesses are calling for "clear and unambiguous guidance" to rebuild trust and confidence

UK businesses have hit out at the government for delaying the publication of new rules for returning to work. 

Officials at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy were set to issue guidance on best practices for employers and workers on Tuesday, according to The Telegraph, but did not come through with any information.

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed that the government will push ahead with plans to lift all remaining lockdown restrictions on 19 July, dubbed "Freedom Day", but his tone has become increasingly cautious over the last few days. 

The government has also suggested that businesses adopt a "gradual" return to the office, with employers tasked with introducing their own policies. 

"There has been real frustration about the mixed messages that they have been receiving from the government, and we are calling for a focus on rebuilding trust and confidence through clear and unambiguous guidance," Roger Barker, policy director at the Institute of Directors, told The Telegraph.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has previously urged workers to return to the office, suggesting it will help younger workers gain valuable face-to-face experience at the start of their careers. The government has also reiterated that further guidance is coming soon. 

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Another issue that workers are concerned about is the lifting of restrictions around face coverings, which is also being left up to the general public. With regards to the London Underground, mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that face masks will still be required when using Transport for London services. 

The UK is on the verge of the era of hybrid work, where employees can choose where they work from. Research from Forrester suggests that around 70% of European companies are set to roll out hybrid models, but those plans will still need to account for the continued effect of the COVID pandemic

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