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Updated Guidance on Coronavirus – Social Distancing

Following our blog with guidance for employers dealing with the Coronavirus yesterday, ACAS have revised their guidance to include “social distancing.”

The ACAS guidance confirms that current government advice is for everyone to try and stop unnecessary contact.

For employers, the social distancing element of that would include asking employees:

  • To work from home where possible
  • To avoid busy commuting times on public transport
  • To avoid gatherings of people

Until I had read the ACAS guidance this morning, the penny had not dropped with me that social distancing in the work place did not just stop at attendance at the work place.

While my commute to work is just me, driving solo to the office, for a large percentage of the population, the commute to work involves public transport.

Therefore, if working from home is not possible, then you should consider more flexible ways of working which could include changing start and finish times to  less busy times.

My own experience is that many face to face events have been cancelled to avoid “gatherings of people”  and meetings have been rearranged to take place by video conferencing.  The Court of Session in Edinburgh, Scotland’s highest civil court has said that all hearings where witnesses are required to attend to give evidence will be postponed until at least the end of April.  The President of The Employment Tribunal has published guidance confirming that where possible, that rather than have face to face hearings, parties either lodge written arguments or hearings take place by telephone conference call.

The phrase “flexible working” is a phrase that is frequently banded about without any thought being put into what that could mean.  If there is one good thing to come from the current situation, then it is the fact that as an employer you have the opportunity to think outside the box and be flexible to benefit both your employees and your business. That flexibility will, hopefully, stand you in good stead to until the crisis passes.

If you have any questions on dealing with flexible working or employee issues that may arise as a result of the coronavirus, then please contact me,  Julie Sullivan,

As a business, Young & Partners will continue to monitor the government’s guidance and we will provide updates where necessary.

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