Omicron: Should I be working from home now?

People in England should start working at home again if they can, as part of the government's Plan B measures to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant.
The governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had already advised staff to continue working remotely wherever possible.
In England, people should return to working from home if they can from Monday 13 December. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "Go to work if you must, but work from home if you can."
In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told employers they should ensure that all staff who worked from home at the start of the pandemic are able to do so again, until at least the middle of January.
In Northern Ireland, ministers said that more people working from home would help to reduce the risk of infection both inside and outside the workplace. However, they didn't tell employers to impose home working, but instead asked them to support it "where possible".
In Wales, employers are encouraged to let people work from home where possible. Guidance says staff should not be "required or placed under pressure to return" to the workplace unless there's a clear business need.
Just under 36% of workers in Britain did some work from home in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In the last week of November, seven in 10 travelled to work at least once.
In the same week, one in seven said they had been working at home and travelling to work.
Although social distancing limits no longer apply across most of the UK, businesses still have a legal duty to manage the risks to staff and customers.
Employers must follow official safety guidance and carry out Covid risk assessments for those staff who are in the office.
Safety measures can include:
Face-coverings are mandatory for staff and customers in shops and on public transport across the UK.
Regular lateral flow testing remains widespread across the NHS and other parts of the public and private sector.
Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland have already introduced vaccine passport schemes which are partly designed to protect staff who work in hospitality and events.
Subject to approval by MPs, from Wednesday 15 December, people in England will also need to prove their vaccine status to gain entry to nightclubs and other venues.
There is more detailed advice for some industries – including construction, hospitality and manufacturing, plus specific advice for employers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If employees feel unsafe, they can raise concerns with their local authority, Citizens Advice or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The government guidance states that "office workers who can work from home should do so".
It says people should continue travelling to work if they need "to access equipment necessary for their role, or where their role must be completed in person".
Employers have also been asked to think about the health and mental health of their staff when deciding who should stay at home.
They should consider letting people come to work if they have a "challenging home working environment".
Working from home is one of the most effective ways to reduce social exposure, according to the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).
It greatly limits face-to-face contact both with colleagues and on public transport.
As such, Sage says it has a "strong impact" against virus transmission and the R number, which represents a disease's ability to spread.
Much of the risk depends on how crowded it is and your distance from other people.
Wearing a mask helps, as does keeping windows open, and avoiding peak journey times where possible.
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