Future Publishing, in a reverse decision, allows staff to work from home

Future Publishing has reversed its advice to UK staff asking them to continue coming into the office despite the government’s revised Covid guidance.

Future Publishing, in a reverse decision, allows staff to work from home
Photograph: Helena Lopes on Unsplash.

Last week Future, which owns magazines Marie Clare and Metal Hammer, told staff to continue coming into the office, saying working from home full time “is not something we can do”.

Future’s chief people officer, Hazel Boyle, wrote to staff on Friday to “clarify that this is not a mandatory requirement” in an email seen by the Guardian. She added that “if anyone does not feel comfortable coming in to work for whatever reason, then they are under no pressure to do so and should feel free to work from home instead.”

This decision was made despite the fact that prime minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that “from Monday 13 December, those who can will be advised to work from home” in an effort to control the rising cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19. The advice, however, was not legally binding and therefore Future encouraged its staff to continue coming to the office as usual.

Boyle explained in an internal email seen by the Guardian that "there is a cost to our business of prolonged working from home", adding: "Our stance has always been that we will follow government guidelines. So you might be asking why we are keeping the office open when the advice is to stay at home if you can. Plan B is a different government strategy from previous lockdowns because everything around us remains relatively the same – restaurants, shops, bars continue to operate in the lead-up to Christmas... Should England move into a full lockdown we will of course reconsider this position.”

A Future spokesperson said: “The health and safety of our colleagues is paramount, and we have introduced additional measures to support those who are in our offices in England. We will continue to monitor government guidance closely.”

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