Asda HQ staff must return to office at least once a week from August

All Asda office staff are expected to return to the supermarket’s Leeds headquarters next month in one of the first switches away from working from home by a major company.

The UK’s third largest grocer said it expected all its staff to spend at least some time in the office every week from the start of August after putting in place measures to ensure social distancing.

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A spokesman said: “We have always worked to follow government guidelines around Covid and reopened our home offices in May for colleagues who could not easily work from home and have comprehensive measures in place to keep colleagues safe and maintain social distancing.

“The number of colleagues returning to the office has gradually increased since then as they see the benefits of balancing home and office working, and our expectation is that all colleagues will spend some time in the office each week from the start of August onwards.”

Despite the government’s efforts to persuade those who can safely do so to return to city centres and offices in a bid to restart the economy, many major companies are continuing to keep the bulk of their office from staff working from home. Trade unions say more guidance and support is required to ensure a safe return to work from 1 August.

Businesses and workers say a return to the office should be linked to schools reopening, and more capacity on public transport and wider public services.

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Sainsbury’s has said it is unlikely to bring the majority of office staff back for several months, while Marks & Spencer is testing an app that should help manage the number of people in its head office by allowing staff to book a slot to attend. John Lewis said it was undergoing a “phased reopening” under which safety measures would be reviewed at each stage.

Some companies have already told workers not to come to the office until January, while several major banks are not expecting staff to return to their desks until at least September.

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