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Make yourself (back) at home

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You’d remembered where your ID pass was, and perfectly timed how long it takes to get showered, eat breakfast, pack for the day and get out the door… and now it’s time to unpack those bags again (even the ones with snacks in). As of Wednesday 23 September, our default position is again to work from home where possible.

For most of our employees that are usually based in a central Sodexo office, that will mean a return to their pre-September working setup.

This week, we want to make clear what that means, and how this change differs from the recent information regarding the use of central offices.

Why are we being asked to work from home again if our offices are Covid-secure?

The shift in emphasis in the government’s working from home advice follows a sharp increase in the Covid-19 infection rate and the number of hospital admissions.

Whilst our central Sodexo offices comply with a strict set of Covid-secure guidelines, we, as with the rest of the region, must play our part in acting now to prevent further spread in the future.

Which offices are open, and who can use a Sodexo central office?

The doors are open at all our central offices, to those who need them. Please discuss directly with your line manager if you need to access a central office for work. Please also speak up if you need a safe space or if access to an office provides a service to your mental health during this period. Our priority is both the safety and the wellbeing of our colleagues.

If I need to use an office, does split team working still apply (i.e. can I only come in during team red or team blue week?)

No. If you need to use an office, you will no longer be restricted to only doing so bi-weekly. Numbers of users will be extremely low, and the nature of use will either be one-off or for a period of time to support the individual. As such, you do not need to worry about whether it is a ‘team red’, or ‘team blue’ week.

No-one from my team will be using a central office, does this mean we can now mix with team members from the other side of our split team?

The latest measures introduced by the government, including restricting the number of people who should meet at any one time, asking employees to work from home if they can and limiting the opening hours and admittance of public venues are all designed to slow the spread of the virus and keep the number of infections down.

We ask all Sodexo UK & Ireland colleagues to take their role in the collective nationwide effort very seriously and to follow government guidance at all times.

Does the latest guidance have any further impact on travel restrictions?

The following restrictions remain in place in the UK and Ireland:

  • No non-essential domestic travel within UK and ROI
    • Exceptions for business critical travel must be approved by your RLC member
    • Exemptions may include:
      • Safety or compliance checks
      • HR activity that has to take place in person (socially distanced)
      • attending sites and courts for legal reasons
      • client meetings or otherwise mandated by clients – the latest guidance on working from home where possible should see a collective effort to make all meetings virtual
  • No non-essential international travel (from UK and ROI to other countries)
    • Exceptions for business critical international travel must be approved by both the Region Chair and your global ComEx member

How long is the latest guidance around working from home likely to last?

You may have heard in the UK Prime Minister’s public address given last week that the latest measures could be put in to place for six months, with working from home where possible included in this.

Whilst none of us know for sure how long our office-based employees will be working from home as default, we continue to assess what the future of work looks like post-pandemic and to investigate changes to our business to support.

What can I do if I’m struggling?

Speak to your line manager and use the network of colleagues around you to start a conversation. This year has been incredibly hard on us all, and no colleague should feel alone in their concerns or struggles. If you need free, impartial advice or a friendly ear to listen to what you have to say, Talk is available around the clock for you and anyone you live with.


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