‘New norm’ posing challenges for business under ‘duty of care’ obligations

The ‘new norm’ of home working and the human behavioural trends that may bring about is creating a whole host of new driving for business challenges according to Licence Bureau.

With home working now an established part of day-to-day business in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many organisations recognising its potential benefits long term, Licence Bureau believes driving for business is likely to take on a whole new guise and companies need to be aware. 

The UK’s number one supplier of Driver Licence validation services feels it could too be compounded by the fact that proximity to the workplace may become increasingly irrelevant as the ‘new norm’ opens-up a whole new geographical reach for workforces which could see current employees either move further afield or potential new recruits be appointed nationwide.

“The working world changed overnight,” says Steve Pinchen, sales director, Licence Bureau, “and although restrictions continue to ease as we rediscover some sense of normality, the reality is many aspects of this change will remain – working from home being just one.

“Offering many advantages, what it also does is create potential new challenges for any business which must be addressed.”

A recent survey by BT Skills for Tomorrow and Small Business Britain suggests 37% of the UK’s SMEs are planning for less face-to-face contact and around a quarter expect working from home to continue.

Illustrating the potential implications, Licence Bureau points to how working from home gives employees a new ‘normal place of work’ and therefore any car journey, in relation to business, will fall under the ‘driving for work’ banner.

Driving to meet colleagues or popping to the local shop for stationary or a post office trip all come under this umbrella.

“Offering many advantages, what it also does is create potential new challenges for any business which must be addressed.”

Steve Pinchen, Licence Bureau

Perhaps even more pressing will be the challenges associated with the occasional need to visit the employer’s registered office, which could be a regular occurrence – weekly or monthly – potentially involving a round-trip of hundreds of miles.

For many employees, this journey ‘to the office’ now falls under the banner of a business journey whereby the employer has caused or permitted that travel by car.

‘The new norm poses some very real challenges for organisations to satisfy their duty of care obligations when it comes to business travel. Creating awareness of these new challenges is the first step in its proactive management,’ said Steve.

He continued, ‘This is just one example of how the ‘new norm’ impacts on all aspects of business. I am sure that as we continue to settle into a new rhythm of business – more challenges might become apparent that were previously not considered.

‘Who would have thought four months ago we would have been exploring the ramifications of the mass adoption of working from home for businesses road safety obligations? Without doubt, change has occurred and we all need to move with it.’

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