Compulsory face masks in the office will make it harder to get workers back to their desks, business leaders warn
- Compulsory face masks in the workplace could stifle efforts to staff back in
- Business leaders warned against a ‘blanket rule’ making masks mandatory
- Comes as France made masks compulsory in shared and enclosed workspaces
Compulsory face masks in the workplace could stifle efforts to get more staff back into the office, business leaders have warned.
As businesses across the country begin to open their offices once again, companies now fear a ‘blanket rule’ making masks mandatory could hamper efforts to bring their staff back into work.
It comes after a survey of 8,000 workers, carried out by ManpowerGroup, from eight countries found that workers from the UK and US were the most reluctant to return to the office due to fears of a second wave of coronavirus.
A ‘blanket rule’ making face masks mandatory in the workplace could hamper efforts to bring more staff back into work, business chiefs have warned. (Stock image)
Sharing his concerns, Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, told The Telegraph: ‘Many small businesses have already invested to the tune of thousands in making workplaces safe.
‘Any further changes need to be carefully thought through and accompanied by direct financial assistance.
‘A blanket rule to impose face masks at all times and on all small firms – rather than having them as one element of various potential measures – risks stifling efforts to get more people back into offices, and the cafes, restaurants and retailers that depend on commuter footfall.’
Mr Cherry went on to explain that while masks were an important tool in helping in the fight against coronavirus, other measures, including the Government’s contact tracing programme, needed to be prioritised.
His comments come after it was revealed that British workers were the most reluctant to return to the office because of fears of a second wave of coronavirus.
A survey of 8,000 adults carried out by ManpowerGroup, from eight countries found that workers from the UK and US showed the highest level of apathy towards going back to the office.
The latest analysis found that the biggest reason people did not want to go back to the workplace was fears of a second Covid-19 wave.
Comes after it was revealed that British workers were the most reluctant to return to the office because of fears of a second wave of coronavirus. (Stock image)
Some 73 per cent of the workforce in the UK have negative feelings about going back to work
Some 73 per cent of the workforce in the UK have negative feelings about going back to work while only 54 per cent say the same in Germany.
This month a survey of 2,000 office-based workers conducted by the technology giant Huawei found almost nine out of ten wanted to continue working from home for at least part of the week.
The study, which provided a fresh insight into how the world of work will be changing amid the pandemic, also found three out of five respondents say they would prefer to work remotely for at least three days a week.
The results of the study comes after the Health Secretary Matt Hancock suggested there was no reason for staff to continue working from home and said the chances of catching Covid-19 at work were ‘relatively low’.
Mr Hancock said official data showed that the virus was being passed on when multiple households met and that household transmission was ‘the root of passing on this virus in this country’.
When asked if the UK would follow in the footsteps of France and require face masks to be worn in all workplaces he said ‘we are not currently considering doing that’.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast the health secretary said: ‘We constantly look at the scientific advice and the answer here is that we are not currently considering doing that.
This month Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the chances of catching Covid-19 at work were ‘relatively low’
‘And the reason is that the evidence from NHS Test and Trace that we were talking about for where people catch the disease is that very largely they catch it from one household meeting another household, usually in one of their homes.
‘So it is that household transmission that is the core, the root of passing on this virus in this country.
‘The amount of people who have caught it in workplaces is relatively low, we think, from the evidence that we have got.’
From September 1, France will require staff to wear face coverings in all shared and enclosed workspaces, including in corridors and lobbies, as the nation tries to control the spread of the virus.
Face masks will also become compulsory throughout Paris after the city saw cases soar.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said that masks – which were already compulsory on public transport and in enclosed spaces – will now be mandatory in all public places across the city, though did not give a date for it to come into force.
The announcement came after France recorded 5,429 cases of coronavirus on Wednesday – the country’s highest daily total since March, and third-largest since the pandemic began.