Working from home to return this winter?

Although we’re slowly but surely creeping out of lockdown, it seems that some restrictions and changes to how we do things will be hanging around longer than others. 

Many office-based workplaces are adopting new work from home policies that will see staff working remotely for at least part of the working week. And the winter months could even see a drive to have everyone working from home again, wherever possible, in a bid to keep virus infection rates down.

We could also see a return to face masks.

Is this the new normal?

It looks like things won’t be fully returning to what we’d call normal for some time yet. Even though lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased – with a view to restrictions being completely lifted by the end of June this year – the government’s chief scientific adviser has said that some measures could be brought back later in the year.

That doesn’t mean a return to lockdown over the dreariest months of the year, but it could mean a return to working from home and the wearing of face masks when out and about, particularly on public transport.

Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing, Sir Patrick Vallance said measures could be put back in place if Covid-19 infection rates begin to rise again.

He said: “It may be as winter comes, and if rates went up again, things like face coverings on transport might be necessary.”

He added that measures “like ventilation, the ability to still stay working from home if it’s appropriate to do so” could continue in the longer term.

And he urged people to self-isolate if they show symptoms.

Hopefully, the continued roll-out of the vaccine should mean that infection rates drop considerably, but there is always the concern that variants could pop-up. This could mean Covid-19 becomes another seasonal illness that we all have to live with, like winter colds and flu.

How a conference call can help you work from home

If you do need to work from home, you can quickly find yourself out of the loop with things going on in the office. It’s frustrating, but you sometimes have to do a lot of running around and pinning people down just to keep up with what the office-based workers are up to.

But you can make life easier by getting them all on a conference call. This way you can speak to up to 100 participants at once, and they don’t all need to be in the same room – anyone can join your conference call from wherever they are, using a landline or mobile phone.

And the best news is that is now offering a free conference call service for  UK-only  calls.

To set up your call, just send your PIN to each of your participants, together with the dial-in number 0843 373 0843 + any overseas dial-in numbers (click here to see rates and dial-in numbers).

At the agreed time, participants just need to call the dial-in number and enter the PIN to join your conference call.