Respiratory infections including Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer workplaces and public settings

Guidance for businesses and workplaces (including transport operators) on reducing the risk of respiratory infections including COVID-19 and supporting staff and customers.

Hybrid working

We continue to encourage employers to facilitate hybrid and flexible working. This may have benefits which go beyond the need to control respiratory infections including COVID-19, for example, supporting businesses and organisations’ sustainable operations. Employers and employees are best placed to understand the balance of home/ flexible/ hybrid working, through discussion and with unions where applicable and appropriate. Advice and support for employers on how to apply flexible working arrangements is available from various organisations including Flexibility Works Scotland, Timewise and CIPD.

You should consider the following points:

  • the importance of risk assessment for hybrid and home working as well as in the workplace
  • the importance of consulting with employees (and trade unions/ staff representatives where applicable and appropriate) to facilitate them to raise questions or concerns
  • the importance of agreeing with workers or their representatives, what model or models of hybrid working are going to be offered to the workforce where it is applicable and appropriate
  • considering those people who were on the highest risk list, including their preferences for home based, hybrid or flexible working where this is possible, or discussing any further adjustments
  • whether any particular measures or adjustments are required to fulfil duties under the equalities legislation and supporting those with protected characteristics. The requirement to make reasonable adjustments applies when working remotely as it does in the workplace, to avoid disabled staff being put at a disadvantage. These adjustments should be carefully reviewed if disabled workers continue to work from home as they may feel negatively impacted when interacting virtually in meetings with colleagues who are located together in a physical office environment
  • employers must protect their workers from the health risks while working at home such as working with display screen equipment. Advice on DSE at home is provided by HSE
  • working from home and in a hybrid way creates unique cyber security challenges and risks that must be appropriately managed. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have produced guidance on the steps employers should take when introducing (or scaling up the amount of) home working
  • working from home brings the risk of staff overworking. You can support staff to set clear boundaries between work and home-life. You should be mindful of the legal requirements for rest breaks
  • you should have clear and established boundaries around the use of communication tools, such as email, after an individual has worked their contracted hours. Employers should ensure that their staff take their contractual paid leave if they wish – in order to comply with Working Time Regulations paid leave entitlements, and ensure rest and employee wellbeing
  • additional costs associated with working from home may be covered by the organisation and staff should be aware of the policies in place to cover additional costs. The guidance for claiming tax relief for working from home has changed for expenses on or after 6 April 2022. See more information on Expenses and benefits and homeworking
  • you should ensure your insurance covers staff carrying out their role from home. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) provides advice and guidance to support those who are continuing to work from home



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