Workers in the U.K. could face staggered start times, more homeworking and “health passports” as the government prepares to reveal its plans to reopen the economy.
- The draft of government plans, seen by the BBC, suggest workplaces will not go back to complete normal after restrictions on movement are eased.
- Less “hotdesking,” the use of physical screens, staggered start and break times, and workers being given personal protective equipment (PPE) where social distancing is not possible could be introduced.
- But it has also emerged that workplaces could use facial biometrics to track whether employees clocking in for the day are healthy enough to work.
- The U.K. government is in talks with tech firms to produce digital “health passports” that can identify which staffers have had coronavirus and are fit to be at work.
- Among them is London-based firm Onfido, which could develop an app that uses facial biometrics and antibody tests to alert workplaces as to who is okay to enter the office, based on whether or not they have had coronavirus.
The government must navigate a line between trying to reopen Europe’s second-largest economy, and keeping workers safe as weeks of lockdown start to be lifted. Businesses deemed nonessential were told to close on March 23, 2020, while employees who could work from home were told to do so in efforts to stop the spread of the virus and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed. Social distancing measures have forced companies to start thinking about how to adapt offices and workspaces to help workers observe a 6-foot distance between one another. Real estate company Cushman & Wakefield has remodeled its Amsterdam headquarters into a post-lockdown office, which includes desk barriers, pedestrian traffic lanes, and disposable office equipment.
The U.K. now has the second-highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, after Italy. More than 28,000 people have died in the U.K. after contracting coronavirus. Hospital admissions are falling, while the use of critical care beds is also down, the BBC reported.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will on Sunday reveal plans to transition the U.K. out of lockdown.