About 25 percent of employees in a government department are currently in office on any given day, a minister has said, despite the chancellor advocating for the benefits of youth returning to the workplace.
Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan gave estimates for the Department of Education when asked Tuesday morning on Times Radio how many civil servants have returned to office.
The Cabinet Office declined to release a figure or estimate for the proportion of civil services currently working in office across all departments, saying each sector has the flexibility to make its own arrangements.
The government is no longer instructing people to work from home to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and is instead saying it will leave the decision on workplace returns to businesses.
But the government advice also says it “expects and recommends a gradual return over the summer.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak told LinkedIn News on Monday that working in an office environment early in his career has been “really rewarding”.
He said he built “strong ties” in the office and still talks to his early mentors, and doubts whether he would have been able to do so if they had met while working remotely.
“That’s why I think it’s valuable, especially for young people, to be physically able to be in an office,” he said.
Keegan told Times Radio on Tuesday: “I’ve been in the office four days a week since June last year, as many of you know, because obviously we had to navigate these very difficult decisions during the pandemic. Is.
“And many civil servants are also back now, coming back more and more, and clearly they’re all excited to be back.”
She continued: “We have been there all the time, as have many civil servants who have supported us.
“Of course, the government’s advice was to work from home and we recently changed that advice to say it’s safe to go back to the office.”
She said the government has advised firms to “use the summer to restart those coming back.”
Asked how many civil servants are already back in office, Keegan said: “In DFE, I would say maybe 20 to 25 percent of the time on any one day, obviously different people on different days. Coming in.”
She continued: “I think we’ve led the example and I think more and more people will, but we’ve said ‘use the heat to get people back, people feel comfortable coming back’ Do,’ and you know not everyone will come back. All the time, flexible working will be part of our future and we’re not telling businesses what to do.”
A government spokesman said: “The Civil Service continues to follow government guidance, as we gradually and carefully increase the number of employees working in the office.
“Our approach, which draws on our learnings during the pandemic, leverages the benefits of working from office and home-based across the UK.
“Departments have the flexibility to make work arrangements that best meet their needs.”
by Ben Hatton
News From – The Epoch Times