Civil servants will be told to return to their desks to ensure government department offices are running at “full capacity”, according to reports.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the minister for government efficiency, has written to all secretaries of state calling on them to oversee the “rapid return” of officials to their workplaces.
In a letter to ministers, he wrote: “Now that we are learning to live with Covid and have lifted all legal restrictions in England, we must continue to accelerate the return of civil servants to office buildings to realize the benefits of face-to- face, collaborative working and the wider benefits for the economy.
“To deliver this, the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster [Steve Barclay] and I urge you to issue a clear message to civil servants in your department to ensure a rapid return to the office.”
Civil servants have continued to work from home due to unions pushing for concessions on flexible working, the Daily Telegraph said.
It is understood Rees-Mogg even sent ministers a “league table” of departments, based on the number of government workers going into the office during the week beginning 4 April.
The Department for Education had just a quarter of its staff going in each day on average. The figures were similar at the Department for Work and Pensions (27%) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (31%).
At the other end of the table, 73% of employees traveled into work at the Department for International Trade.
A government spokesperson said: “Ministers have been clear that departments should make maximum use of office space and progress is being monitored.”
However, it is understood that “full capacity” does not mean every civil servant working from their desk, as some departments do not have space for all of their employees.