Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): returning to offices

To help employers plan for a gradual return to offices when the country moves beyond Level 0 of the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): returning to offices


Key changes

  • the First Minister announced Scotland’s move to beyond Level 0 on 9 August, at which point many legal COVID restrictions have been removed. However, precautionary measures will continue to be necessary and businesses will be encouraged to continue to support staff to work from home where possible and appropriate.
  • a gradual return to offices can now begin 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 beyond Level 0
  • employers to consider a number of principles agreed with business organisations and unions as part of their preparation for a return 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
  • refresher training on precautionary measuresmay be required in preparation for re-opening 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  s guidance and the central Staying safe ad protecting others guidance .

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


A series of posters to help raise awareness of safety in the workplace (Dropbox link) is available to print off.

First published: 2 Jul 2021 Last updated: 13 Aug 2021 -