Labour cool on return to Whitehall homeworking, reports suggest

As the country goes to the ballot box today, it has been reported that senior Labour figures would be keen for the party to retain expectations for officials office attendance

A Labour government will want to see civil servants spending most of their time in the office, shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth has said.

In a press conference this week, Ashworth was asked if he would remove the requirement brought in by Rishi Sunak’s Conservative government that civil servants spend 60% of their week in the office.

“We want to see civil servants in the office,” Ashworth said, according to various reports.

He added that it was “sensible that civil servants are in the office and at their desks” and that he was confident that the “impartial civil service” would want to “turn their mind to that agenda as well”.

Under work from home rules introduced in November, civil servants are expected to spend a minimum of 60% of their hours working face to face with their colleagues, either in offices or on official business. Some staff – including senior managers and early-career officials – are asked to work from the office even more often.

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In April, Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said she wants to see “more people in the office, more of the time”, but added that decisions should be “for individual managers and their members of staff”.

“I personally think it is good for people to get back into the office, I think it’s good for productivity and good for morale,” Reeves told ITV News.

But she added: “I think the individual managers need to have those conversations with their staff. It’s going to be different in different workplaces, and different workplaces have different needs and different levels of teamwork.”

Tevye Markson

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