Where we are now
On 23 March 2020, the First Minister announced Scotland would enter into a lockdown. Under law, the restrictions must be reviewed at least every three weeks.
In the Strategic Framework update which we published on 23 February 2021, we reconfirmed our strategic intent to suppress the virus to the lowest possible level and keep it there, while we strive to return to a more normal life for as many people as possible.
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) timetable for easing restrictions sets out how and when we plan to lift the current coronavirus restrictions over the coming weeks and months.
Working from home as a public health measure has been a crucial factor in mitigating the transmission of the virus in the general public and is an effort we must continue.
Our current position is that anyone who is able to work from home, should continue to do so.
Working from home and working flexibly remains the default – if organisations have largely managed to have their staff working from home effectively during the pandemic, they should continue to do so wherever possible. In short, employers should continue to maximise working from home in their organisations.
We need employers to continue working with their workforce to look at their operations, and to enable functions that can be undertaken by people working at home, to be done in that way.
We need strong employer and sectoral support for working from home to help drive Scotland's economic recovery and renewal and continue to mitigate the transmission of the virus. The approach that many organisations have taken to working from home has been to implement it quickly, as an immediate response to the pandemic. Many employers have indicated that they intend to retain elements of working from home, on a permanent basis.
This guidance document can be used to supplement and aid employers considerations for longer term adoption of working from home policies, however any permanent change in an employee’s place of work should be subject to the appropriate processes and engagement with workers and their representatives.
We are working with the UK Government to align our approach and guidance where possible, and our approach must also be clearly based on scientific evidence on the levels of infection in Scotland. Readers will recognise consistent themes within this guidance with the UK Government’s Working Safely during COVID-19 publications.