Employee asked to return to the office after having her vaccine

Woman who’s worked from home for the past year reveals she’s unhappy at being asked to return to the office now she’s had the Covid jab – but critics say she needs to ‘go back or quit’

  • ‘Vulnerable’ woman who lives in the UK, has been working from home for a year
  • Explained employer has requested her to return to the office after her vaccine 
  • Posting on Mumsnet, said she doesn’t want to go back because of the ‘risks’
  • Responses argued she should return to work because she’s protected

A woman who was permitted to work from home throughout the pandemic has sparked a lengthy debate after revealing she doesn’t want to return to the office despite having her first vaccine.

Posting anonymously on Mumsnet, the woman who lives in the UK, explained she was given permission to work from home because she’s ‘vulnerable’ but her colleagues have had to continue working in the office for the past year. 

She said the HR department contacted her to request her return to the office after her vaccination, but with over 70 people in her office building it seems like a risk.

Responses were torn as many argued she should go to the office because the vaccine offers protection, however others argued she should ask to continue working from home until government guidance changes.

A woman who has worked from home for the past year, has sparked a debate about returning to the office after receiving a covid vaccine (file image)

Posting on Mumsnet, the woman explained she’s ‘not happy’ to return to the office because there’s over 70 people in her office building 

Fearful of returning to the office, the woman wrote: ‘I’m currently wfh. A lot of people at my company are in the office and have always been.

‘Last year I wrote to HR and requested to wfh due to a health condition which makes me vulnerable to covid. This was approved and I’ve been wfh since.

‘I have my covid vaccine this week. I told my work colleague that I’d booked it and yesterday I had an email from work asking for a catch up about returning to the office.

A stream of responses on the post argued the woman should return to work after having her vaccine and said covid will be part of our lives forever 

‘I spoke to them this morning and they’ve said that now I’m being vaccinated I will be expected to return to the ‘Covid secure’ office.

What are the rules on working from home in England? 

Since the introduction of lockdown in January, the government has advised that everyone who can work from home should do so. 

However, this is not feasible in all inudstries, such as essential services and education settings, and decisions should be made after a Covid risk assessment, taking into account factors such as pregnancies and underlying health conditions.

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should have received a shielding letter, telling them not to leave home. 

Source: Unison.org.uk 

‘I didn’t say anything on the phone but I’m really not happy to go back in. There’s over 70 people in my office building. 14 in the room I work in!! AIBU to not go back in due to risks?’

A stream of responses argued the woman should return to work if her employer has requested it, arguing the vaccine will provide protection.

One person wrote: ‘With respect, unless you are on the shielding list, once you’ve had your vaccine you need to return to work. I’m not going to attack you over the fairness of you wfh while the rest of the office goes in’ 

Another said: ‘If you’re not on the shielding list then it is reasonable to return to work. One vaccine will offer some protection and the office should still be ‘covid secure’.

‘I say this as someone who has had to alter my return to work in the education sector due to the high contact the job involves. As your job doesn’t sound high contact and is easier to social distance then this should be fine. They may let you wait until after your second jab but it depends how flexible they are.’ 

However, others argued employers shouldn’t request for their staff to return to offices until the government guidance changes.  

One person said: ‘YANBU. Work from home where possible and it’s obviously been possible for past 12 months so no reason to break guidance now.’

‘The guidance is to wfh if you can. This hasn’t changed. I am surprised by some of the comments on this thread. Myself and nearly all of my friends are still wfh and there is no pressure at the moment to go back. There are a few colleagues in my office who have been going in but that is because they said they prefer it in the office,’ another wrote.

A third added: ‘I don’t understand why employers want people back if they’re working well at home. I’m NHS and we’ve had several office outbreaks, so we’ve been told to stay and wfh. More people in equals more risk.’ 

Others argued the woman shouldn’t return to work before the government’s guidance changes, even though she isn’t on the shielding list 

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