We are now in a world where increased flexibility in our working lives has become second nature to many people, and retaining that flexibility is likely to be increasingly important. Whilst some will be looking forward to being back in the office, reacquainting themselves with colleagues and enjoying being out of the house, others are understandably cautious about the reopening of workspaces and other social situations. Taking all of this into account, we have established a set of principles to govern a gradual, safe return to our offices:

  1. We’ll continue to follow Government guidance as we have throughout the pandemic. At this time this means the firmest timeline we have is the likely route out of lockdown for England, with the other parts of the UK expected to follow shortly afterwards.
  2. We expect to start reopening our offices in England from 17 May. We will start with those sites already open, and gradually add further sites (as we had planned last year). Although we expect this to start from 17 May, if Government guidance allows, we may be able to run small pilots from 12 April.
  3. Offices will be COVID-secure, operating under 50% capacity. We’ll manage the opening plans and safety through designated functional leaders working with building leaders. We’ll use a ‘chequerboard’ system to maintain greater space between colleagues for as long as we need. All offices will be spring cleaned using specialist products and cleaning stations made available.
  4. Business travel will follow Government guidance and require sign off. From 17 May essential domestic travel may be permitted but EQ will continue to operate a virtual meetings policy. Unless exceptional circumstances dictate otherwise, all meetings will continue to be held via video or telephone conference.

Life will be different as we move forward, and we will continue to evolve our approach as we learn more.