Returning To Work – What Does This Look Like?

May 13, 2020

The Prime Minister made an announcement on Sunday 10th May that employees who cannot work from home can and should now return to work providing it is safe to do so. Be mindful that this does not include all businesses, some sectors are legally required to remain closed. You can find details here:

Before rushing into opening the business and asking your employee to return to the workplace you should ask:

  • Is this necessary at this time?
  • Can the employee work from home?
  • Is it safe for them to return?
  • What can be done to improve safety?
  • Can the staff maintain a 2m physical distance between each other where possible?
  • How will you manage communal areas?
  • Will staff be sharing facilities?
  • Are any of the staff members extremely vulnerable or vulnerable?
  • Are you able to stagger shift times and lunch times to minimise groups of people congregating?
  • Are you able to implement a separate entrance and exit?
  • Can you offer flexible working?
  • If working in an office environment can the employees sit side by side or back to back to minimise the risk of infection?
  • How will your employees travel to and from work? Public transport should be avoided.
  • Do they have children at home and no childcare?


The employer has a duty of care to ensure the working environment is safe and should carry out a thorough risk assessment with each employee to minimise the risk of infection. Managers should be carrying out return to work meetings with each employee, which can alert to any mental health issues.  If there are any concerns during these meeting Managers must take into consideration what the employees has said and, where possible, offer adjustments to the workplace or offer support provided by the business.

When requesting the employee to return be mindful that they will have either been on furlough or working from home so giving as much notice as possible is always better than asking them to return immediately as this may cause friction.

We would recommend that employees are fully informed of the additional measures being implemented and that these are displayed around the premises as a reminder.

This post is in: Blog, Coronavirus