Exiting lockdown: what will it mean for your workplace?

Smart Money: Will your temperature be taken as you arrive to work? – and six other big questions

Employees must feel safe going back to work and consumers will only start returning to shopping and eating out when they feel any risk is small. Photograph: iStock

Employees must feel safe going back to work and consumers will only start returning to shopping and eating out when they feel any risk is small. Photograph: iStock

The Government is considering a gradual lockdown exit strategy after May 5th – as yet the details are unclear. But what will life be like for employees and employers as closed parts of the economy gradually restart? What is clear is that workplaces and work practices are going to change fundamentally – at least until a vaccine is found. Here are the key considerations.

1. Which sectors go back first?

The timing of all this remains uncertain and reopening will be very gradual and made contingent on the virus not flaring up again.The construction sector may be one to start slowly getting back to work in the early stages of reopening. This would quickly take large numbers off government income supports – also the bulk of employees are in younger, less vulnerable groups. Non-essential manufacturing might also reopen – many big pharma and IT plants did not close, but sectors such as engineering , textiles and medtech did. The trend elsewhere in the EU also points to a phased reopening of non-essential retail stores in the earlier stages – clothes shops, department stores, garden centres and so on.

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