// Boots HQ toilets restricted for ordinary staff and reserved for executives
// Staff left furious as social distancing is harder to practice
// Fewer toilets available meant they were being used by more people
Boots has reportedly barred employees from using some of the toilets at its Nottingham head office, only reserving them for executives and making it harder for staff to practise social distancing amid the pandemic.
The health and beauty retailer had last week “encouraged” staff to travel into its headquarters, despite Covid-19 infection rates are their highest in Nottingham.
It was criticised because the message to staff goes against recent government guidelines which advised people to work from home where possible.
- Boots bosses “encouraged” staff to work at Nottingham HQ despite Covid-19 cases
- Boots struggles to trade amid Covid-19 as store sales drop
Nottingham currently has the highest rate of infections in England, at nearly 955 for every 100,000 people in the city.
Boots employees said messages from senior managers meant they were expected to be at their desks for at least part of the week
Boots last week denied putting pressure on staff to come into the office, adding that any employees who understood the messages that way had misinterpreted the message.
Staff members have now said they tried to use the toilets only to find a notice telling them they were barred, The Guardian reported.
A sign pinned to the women’s toilet door said “Reserved for Walgreens Boots Alliance executive team”.
Walgreens Boots Alliance is Boots’ US-owned parent company.
Moreover, staff also noted that the area including the toilet was “reserved for Ornella”, likely to be a reference to Ornella Barra, the company’s co-chief operating officer.
The toilet restriction meant colleagues were to forced walk much further, past many more desks, to find another one.
The fact that there were fewer toilets available also meant they were being used by more people, making social distancing harder.
In a new statement, Boots said its head office was vital in keeping its medicine and healthcare businesses running and that it would support anyone who wanted to work from home.
The company said some toilets had been restricted “to ensure we can maintain social distancing and not compromise colleague safety”.
“If colleagues have thoughts about their working arrangements or the layout of the office, then we encourage them to discuss this with either their line manager, employee representative or HR contact,” Boots said in a new statement.