3. Returning to the workplace
This page is for people who have been working at home and those who have not been in the workplace due to the restrictions during the pandemic.
Employers should decide whether it is appropriate for people to continue to work from home or return to the workplace (or a combination of both).
Guidance on GOV.UK outlines steps that an employer should take when considering who needs to come into the workplace. These steps include considering those at higher risk from COVID-19 and consulting with their workforce.
Returning to work
If your workers have not been in the workplace for some time, and, in particular, if things have changed, it may be useful to talk to them about working safely before they return to work.
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 coronavirus
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 to return to the workplace
- changes in your workplace, such as new working procedures
- arriving at work
Ways you can help include:
- talking through workers’ specific concerns
- telling them how you’re making any adjustments to help them work safely such as additional handwashing facilities or staggering start and finish times to avoid overcrowding
- explaining how you continue to review health and safety and manage 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 work
- 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 work?
- What can you do?
- What can your manager do?
- What can the company or organisation do?
Find out more
To help answer these questions:
Read our guidance on protecting home workers.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) provides useful 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: 19 July 2021
Next review due: 31 July 2021