Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): returning to offices

Guidance to support employers and employees returning to offices.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): returning to offices


Key changes

  • a gradual return to offices has begun, however home working will continue to be an important mitigation for controlling the virus and we would ask that businesses still support employees to do this, where possible and in consultation with employees
  • a wide variety of models of working have been explored by businesses in consultation with their workforce, such as hybrid models of home and office based working and these models should continue to be promoted
  • employers and employees should consider a number of principles agreed with business organisations and unions if returning to offices to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers is central to decision making
  • planning should be based around appropriate risk assessments and safe systems of work, emphasising precautionary measures such as continued use of face coverings, continued compliance with Test and Protect (including self-isolation when necessary), good hand and respiratory hygiene, ongoing promotion of good ventilation and outbreak management to manage and mitigate outbreaks in the workplace. Further guidance on precautionary measuresis available and further safer workplaces general guidance has been published to be used alongside this guidance
  • refresher training on precautionary measures may be required when employees are returning to offices and businesses are encouraged to consider staggered start times to address travel and childcare needs of workers
  • employers should exercise caution as re-opening could result in an increase in cases which may result in outbreak management measures taking hold. This could require specific restrictions or higher levels of general protective measures to control any further outbreaks

Related information

This document is intended to be read alongside existing COVID-19 safer businesses and workplaces guidance and the central Staying safe and protecting others guidance.

This document does not replace existing tools but acts as a conduit to signpost businesses to sources of support and guidance.

First published: 2 Jul 2021 Last updated: 3 Nov 2021 -