The hidden challenges of working from home
Working from home is here to stay for the next six months at least.
The latest restrictions announced by the Government mean that anyone who can effectively work from home should do so.
Thats a big change in emphasis from the position just a few weeks ago, when we were being urged to return to the office to help the economy recover from the impact of the March lockdown.
And for many employers, its a move which comes with a series of hidden costs.
During the initial lockdown, some of the challenges of staff working from home were not always apparent. We simply got on with making the transformation from office to kitchen table as quickly and efficiently as we could.
Its five years since the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) passed into law, and you dont have to look too hard to see that it is still a major issue in our national life.
There is plenty of evidence that the issue continues to be a blight and that there remains much misunderstanding amongst companies about their responsibilities in this area.
Thats a desperately sad situation. When applied correctly, the MSA can help lift those affected out of truly horrendous exploitation and also lead to much-improved morale among companies which might, unwittingly, have relied on forced labour.
Latest figures from the Global Slavery Index for the UK suggest that as many as 136,000 people are caught up by modern slavery though the Governments own figures put the number as between 10-13,000.
You will know by now that the Governments official advice to employees about returning to work changed from the start of this month.
Previously, it had been the Governments position that everyone who could work from home should do so to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
But from August 1, Boris Johnson says that employers can have more discretion in the matter meaning that homeworking could continue, or workplaces could be made safe by following the Governments guidelines and staff could be allowed back.
This slow return to the workplace will inevitably bring with it some anxiety on the part of employees. How will they know their workplace is safe? What if they live with someone who is shielding? What if they have to use public transport to get to work?
Furlough fallout - Time to take responsibility?
The ending of the furlough scheme in a few weeks time is going to bring a period of major change for many people.
For some its likely to bring about redundancy and the search for new work in a hugely difficult market.
For others, the thought of returning to work will be laced with the anxiety of mixing with people again after a long period of relative isolation.
But for another group, the ending of furlough will also mark the end of an extended period where they have become used to literally being paid to do nothing. And there is no doubt that there is now a small group who will resist the return to work because they have simply become accustomed to and feel entitled to the perks of furlough.
Just about the most common question we are being asked at the moment relates to returning to work.
With the furlough scheme due to end at the end of October, its likely that many more employees will get a message from their workplace telling them to return to their office, factory or workstation.
But if you are genuinely concerned for your health and wellbeing, do you have to do what your boss is telling you.
Theres no straightforward answer but whatever your situation, the best starting point is to try to engage in an open dialogue with your boss.
The public conversation over Britains colonial past and our links to the slave trade has dominated headlines for much of the summer.
The removal or not of statues of people who had links to slavery, or profited from it, has been an ongoing theme in towns and cities across the country.
But the issue of slavery is not just a matter for historians or philosophical debate.
Modern day slavery is, unfortunately, all too common and continuing to exploit and destroy lives on a huge scale.