Skip to main content

Dyson criticised for return to work plan

According to the Guardian newspaper, engineering firm Dyson told staff to return to work in May and then cancelled the plan "after a mutiny among dismayed employees". Many members of staff had been working from home successfully and argued that they should continue to do so in line with the government's advice to work from home if you can - guidance that's still in place despite the easing of some of the lockdown rules. 

Around 2,500 employees were sent an email on Friday 15 May (after business hours) informing them to return to work the following week. It said that the company had reopened its UK campus (in Malmesbury, Wiltshire) and that staff would be divided into two rotating teams, alternating between home and office working.

Many members of staff complained and the company was forced to withdraw the instruction. This episode appears to have damaged the goodwill between Dyson and some of its staff and demonstrates that organisations must plan ahead, keep staff informed of their plans and follow government guidance before re-opening.

We've produced a guide to help organisation get the transition back to work right: Coronavirus: FAQ's about returning to work.

Our Coronavirus updates

We're working hard to keep you up to date with legal developments around Coronavirus. We've set up a portal which includes lots of helpful articles and advice to help you.

If you have a query, that we haven't answered, please contact us.

One staff member, who spoke to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, said the company had caved in after a furious reaction from its workforce.

“Everyone was very unhappy,” said the source. “It was pretty rough. As a company we were pretty proud of James [Dyson] a few weeks ago , trying to make a difference with the CoVent [medical ventilator] project.

“But then in a few weeks it’s all turned around. If they’d had their way, there would have been 2,500 people in the office and I’d estimate 60% of those could work from home with a low impact.””