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Covid-19: Lloyds staff to work from home until spring

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Lloyds Banking Group is to ask staff currently working from home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic to continue doing so until at least next spring.

The group said the decision was "in line with guidance". At present, the UK government recommends people work from home to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Lloyds has 65,000 staff, the majority of whom are presently working remotely.

Last month, the group said it was cutting 865 jobs as part of plans to restructure the business.

"In line with guidance from the UK and national governments, and given the majority of our colleagues are working from home, we have asked them to continue to do so until at least spring," a spokesperson for Lloyds Banking Group said in a statement.

Lloyds Banking Group encompasses many household names including Lloyds Bank, Halifax, Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows.

Two thirds of Lloyds employees are understood to be working from home at the moment, although staff continue to operate in high street bank branches.

In September, Catherine McGuinness, policy chair of the City of London, told the BBC she was "disappointed" by the "blanket call" by government for office workers to return to working from home where possible.

She said the virus was in danger of crippling the economy, adding "we need to find a way of living with it".

"This is important not so much for the big institutions that can work very well from home, but for the jobs that depend on them," Ms McGuinness said.

Last week, Deloitte announced it would close four UK offices and offer the 500 employees who work in their offices in Gatwick, Liverpool, Nottingham and Southampton work-from-home contracts.

In September, Barclays also told the BBC that "hundreds" of UK staff who had gone back to the office would be asked to return to working from home.

More home working is likely to be a permanent fixture for many firms, according to a recent study by the Institute of Directors.

A survey of just under 1,000 firms by the group found that 74% plan on maintaining the increase in home working.

More than half planned on reducing their long-term use of workplaces.

Companies are not likely to switch fully to home working permanently though, it said.

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