Phased return to the workplace begins

Employers can start bringing staff back into the workplace from today onwards, following the announcement of the easing of Covid-19 restrictions on Friday.

However, unions have urged businesses to exercise caution and consult with staff as the process begins.

Announcing the changes on Friday, the Taoiseach said the return to physical attendance in workplaces should take place on a phased basis appropriate to each sector.

The formal requirement for two-metre physical distancing has also been removed, making the process easier for most employers.

But business representative groups say they expect firms to take a cautious approach and in many cases stick to previously set timeframes that would see them beginning the return in February or after.

They also expect that most organisations will adopt a hybrid model of working into the future, where staff work partly in the office and partly at home.