As the country starts to reopen, an Opinium poll for the trade union Prospect has found that 64 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds said they wanted at least some office time, compared with less than half of those older than 35.
Greg Clark, employment solicitor comments on what employers need to consider:
“Companies should be careful not to accidentally create a two-tier workforce between home workers and those who work from the office, especially if the dividing line between the two is age. Older workers working from home may end up feeling isolated and overlooked, particularly in the longer term if their lack of presence in the office means that their work isn’t valued as highly. On the other hand, younger workers may feel that they are not trusted by their employers, particularly if they initially return to the office and then it is frowned upon if they subsequently change their mind, and wish to work more from home. This could lead to employees raising allegations of age discrimination.
“Employers would also need to make sure that their policies don’t put one group or the other at a particular disadvantage. If nearly all home workers are older, then a policy which treats home workers less favourably – for example, requiring home workers to provide more detailed evidence of how they have spent their time than office workers – could be indirectly discriminatory on the basis of age.”