Absolutely fuming under that box and bag.
Business services staff at Charles Russell Speechlys, Watson Farley & Williams and Fieldfisher have accused their firms of putting their lives in danger by compelling them to come to work during the ongoing pandemic. CRS and WFW rejected the claims and said attendance was voluntary.
This week, in response to a sharp rise in the number of recorded coronavirus infections in the UK, the government ditched its earlier advice that people should return to their workplaces, and instead advised the public in England to "work from home if you can".
But sources at several firms have told RollOnFriday they are concerned that management is tilting too far towards business needs, and neglecting the health risk to staff - and those with whom they are in contact - which travelling to work represents.
Insiders at Charles Russell Speechlys said support teams, and in particular members of the IT function, were being required to attend the office for a week each month on a rota system.
"We are worried about getting on public transport by commuting many, many miles into London and risking our health", said one CSR employee affected by the alleged policy. "The R rate is up, the alert levels have increased and we are still being asked to come in".
Another Charles Russell Speechlys employee said it made little sense because they had been carrying out their roles from home "efficiently and effectively" since March.
"They are risking lives in order to keep the offices physically open, even though we can all operate efficiently at home", said a third source. "We are all very annoyed and worried that they are endangering not only our own health, but the health of our loved ones if any one of us caught it".
However, CRS denied making anyone attend the office. "Staff who can work from home have been encouraged to do so", Charles Russell Speechlys said in a statement. "However we are keeping our offices open for those who cannot work from home or anyone who needs to come to the office for work or wellbeing reasons, on an entirely voluntary basis”.
After the government announcement, Watson Farley Williams "caringly" emailed their PA team "to assure them that they are still required to come into the office one day a week", said a source.
WFW was open about its expectations. "As an international business, a number of client matters are being dealt with which need to be supported by a cross-section of our staff working in the office", it said in a statement. "This includes lawyers and business operations, as well as some PAs".
However, it disputed claims that PAs were being "forced" to work in the office. "No one has to come in if they are shielding or have other concerns around doing so", said WFW. "The health and well-being of our people remains our primary concern and we have gone to great lengths to ensure the office is a Covid-safe working environment. Our staff are aware they must observe the strict rules in place if they need to attend the office and those that have come in have found it an extremely positive experience".
At Fieldfisher, the marketing team "have been told they HAVE to return to the office at least 3 days a week", said a source, on the orders of their Business Development director. The edict is not being extended to Fieldfisher's lawyers or other support teams, said the source.
Fieldfisher did not respond to requests for comment.
Are you being muscled into attending the office against your will? Or are you being forced to stay at home by nanny state managers? Tip off ROF.