3. Returning to the workplace
This page is for people who have been working at home and people who have not been in the workplace because of restrictions during the pandemic.
Employers should decide whether it is appropriate for people to:
- continue to work from home
- return to the workplace
- combine homeworking with coming into the workplace
Guidance on GOV.UK outlines steps that an employer should take when thinking about who needs to come back to the workplace.
These steps include:
- considering people at higher risk from COVID-19
- consulting with the workforce
Returning to the workplace
If your workers have not been in the workplace for some time, it may be useful to talk to them about working safely before they return.
This is particularly important if anything has changed in your workplace.
You may also need to repeat discussions about workplace safety if:
- your local restrictions change
- government guidance changes
- work tasks change
- someone at work tests positive for COVID-19
How can I help my workers if they’re worried about returning to work?
It’s natural that people might be anxious about returning to work.
They could be worried about things like:
- when they will be allowed or asked to return to the workplace
- changes in your workplace, such as new working procedures
- arriving at work
Ways you can help include:
- talking through any specific concerns your workers may have
- telling them how you’re making any adjustments to help them work safely
- explaining how you are reviewing health and safety and managing risks
- discussing any possible new ways of working
- making it clear you will always listen to any concerns they may have
Questions to help you talk about returning to the workplace
- What are your main concerns about coming back to the workplace?
- Think about what worries you most
- Think about how we can reassure you
- What else can we do to help people coming back to the workplace?
- What can you do?
- What can your manager do?
- What can the company or organisation do?
Find out more
Read our guidance on protecting vulnerable workers.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has guidance on talking to workers about returning to the workplace.
We review and update this page regularly to reflect any changes in guidance.
Page last reviewed: 31 August 2021
Next review due: 31 October 2021