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UK Ministers Reportedly Looking at COVID-19 certificates for Offices

The UK government is seemingly intent on getting people back in offices.

Yessi Bello-Perez

Leader

UK government boris johnson covid19
Photo by Eva Dang on Unsplash

Unleash Your Curiosity The news comes amid several controversial remarks about remote working made by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his chancellor Rishi Sunak.

  • The UK government is seemingly intent on getting people back in offices.
  • Over in the US, data published in December 2020 suggested that the majority of Americans wanted to continue working remotely post-pandemic.
  • Meanwhile, several multinational organizations are embracing a hybrid working model.

Ministers in the UK are working on plans to allow employers to use COVID-19 certificates for staff working in offices once most individuals are inoculated later in the year.

That’s according to the Financial Times which cites offices and industry figures. 

The move comes after most white-collar workers in the UK have been working remotely for a year. 

It also follows on from UK chancellor Rishi Sunak’s latest comments highlighting the benefits of working close with people in offices.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also sparked controversy after he said people had had enough ‘days off’ at home during the pandemic and should try to return to offices.

There are also questions being raised about whether bosses should force employees to get inoculated before returning to the workplace.  

The news also follows on from suggestions that COVID-19 vaccine passports may be used to enable people to travel and move freely once the world opens up again — even though some experts are highlighting the ethical considerations around data privacy and exacerbating inequalities.  

Just last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson floated the idea that pub landlords could restrict customers if they had proof of either vaccination, or COVID-19 antibodies from a recent test. 

Those businesses using these certificates would be able to drop social distancing rules and welcome more customers, under plans being reviewed by Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove. 

On Sunday, Oliver Dowden, the culture secretary, told the BBC that no decisions had been made but that in “order to facilitate further easing of the economy and allowing us to get back to doing the things that we love . . . [certificates] might be a tool in the short run.” 

Remote working across the world

Many multinational businesses are adopting hybrid working as part of their future of work propositions.

Reid Hoffman, a renowned venture capital investor and the co-founder of LinkedIn, recently urged employers to think about “how does…hybrid [work actually] work” and ensure that those working from home do not become “second class citizens.”

A survey by Pew Research Center found that 54% of Americans would want to work from home post-COVID. 

The research, published in December 2020, found that only 20% of those surveyed were working remotely pre-pandemic but that 74% of respondents had shifted to remote working as a result of COVID-19. 

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