It looks certain that working from home is the new normal.
With the current restrictions possibly set to stay in place until the spring there is very little chance of a widespread return to the office in the next few months.
And even after that it seems likely that employers will be reluctant to head back into the office to resume the sort of working life we knew this time last year. The benefits of working from home for both employers and employees look certain to mean that more flexible working arrangements will continue long into the future.
One spin off of the working from home revolution is that software companies are reporting a big increase in interest in devices which track or monitor staff remotely.
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?
The relaxation of the lockdown from July 4 means that many businesses are now preparing to open for the first time in more than 100 days.
The three-month lockdown has been an incredibly frustrating period for very many companies particularly those in the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors and it is understandable that they will want to get up and running again as soon as possible.
But there is much work which needs to be done to be certain that the workplace can be reopened safely and protect the employer from possible legal action by staff and customers in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.
A new report has painted a pretty bleak picture of life for working women during the lockdown.
Those forced to work from home even when alongside a male partner have often found their working day interrupted by the need to care for children or carry out domestic chores.
Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that in mixed-sex households where both partners work, women have picked up a disproportionate amount of the household management tasks, often at the expense of their own work.
And the IFS warns that this is no short-term event. The institute says there is likely to be a long-lasting impact on womens professional lives as a result of the pandemic including slowing down the progress made over the past few years in narrowing the gender pay gap.
The Government effectively made gender pay gap reporting optional earlier this year as the coronavirus took hold and the number of companies doing so has fallen by half as a result. Worryingly, early indications are that the gap has risen over the last 12 months. Analysis by the Financial Times found the average pay gap increased from 11.9 per cent to 12.9 per cent in the year to April.