Apprentice star Linda Plant says that she ‘doesn’t believe in the new normal’ and that healthy workers should go back into the office to help boost the economy.
Leeds-born businesswoman Linda, and CEO of We Love Work, Paris Petgrave, both based in London, appeared on Good Morning Britain today to discuss whether employees should return to the office.
CEO Linda – who runs property development and interior design businesses, as well as a training academy – believes that it’s an employer’s ‘right’ to decide how to ‘run a business efficiently’ as long as they create a safe environment.
Meanwhile, Paris argued that working from home can create ‘happier, less stressed and economically healthy’ employees.
Viewers were divided over the issue, however many agreed with Paris and felt being ‘chained to a desk’ is outdated, and that working from home creates a better ‘home work balance’ as well as saving money on commuting costs.
‘Why do you need to get back into the office?’ Paris said. ‘This is a new normal, we live in a digital age. There is no going back, it’s all about moving forward and creating a better environment for the employees.
‘People have been successfully working from home for three months, in the city where people take 45 minutes commuting everyday, spending a fortune on travel when you could do your job very efficiently from your home, from a local cafe. ‘
Linda disagreed, insisting: ‘We’re not just talking about London here.
‘As an employer I have the right to decide, as long as I have made it safe, I have the right to decide what is the best way to run my business efficiently.
‘When furlough ends, there will be thousands of people out of work and I think if I believe my business is run best with my employees coming into work, in a safe environment, I should have the right to decide.
‘I don’t believe the new normal. We had to stay at home, we were locked down, our children were not at school. We didn’t have choice, now we have choices. We need to get our economy back. Don’t worry about being at home, we won’t have a job’.
Viewers were quick to take to Twitter with their views, with many arguing that employers need to be more ‘people centric’ in order to get the best out of their workforce.
One wrote: ‘Chained to a desk from 9-5 is so last century! Employers need to be people centric not policy driven. My employer is working with me to find the best way for me to be happy and productive. My work can be done from home. They get the best from by being person centred.’
Another said: ‘Many of us have worked from home successfully and have found it’s been more productive. Work life balance much better also as I have time to exercise and the added bonus of not spending £250 a month on petrol. My thoughts go back 1-2 days a week when this is over.’
A third wrote: ‘Surely you should work with your staff to make sure they feel safe! If people can work from home, why make them go back in to a situation they they feel uncomfortably in?’
However some did agree with Linda, with one writing: ‘If your boss has put precautions in place so you can return to work safely,and you cant work from home,then yes you should return to work. Some people I know have said they don’t feel safe returning, but then have seen them on social media going to pub/restaurants/shopping etc.’
Paris went on to say that employees are a companies ‘best asset’, while Linda continued to argue that it’s employers have a responsibility ‘to get the country moving’.
‘We live in a digital age’, said Paris. ‘We are speaking to each other on a digital platform.
‘It gives employees less stress, makes them economically healthier, we’re talking about long term strategy here. This is much more inclusive and people are your best asset.’
Linda continued: ‘We have to get the country moving, we have to make the environment safe. The financial consequences are dire.
‘We have to make workplaces as safe as possible, but at the end of the day, we have to get our economy going or there will be no businesses, there will be no job, there will be no choice to work from home.’