With return to the workplace imminent for many businesses, we have put together some of the questions we are being asked frequently.

Can we have the cleaners come into the office now?

Yes, cleaners are now allowed to return to work, and will play an important role in making workplaces COVID-Secure. See the government guidelines.

Can office workers come back in small numbers if they can social distance?

Yes, but only if they can’t work from home. The government guidance sets out that everyone who can work from home should do, and only those who can’t must return.

If your office workers are returning then you will need to ensure that your workplace is safe by following the government guidance which stipulate:

  • Risk assessment
  • Maintain social distancing of 2 metres apart (no hot desking, and can employees be situated at this distance, if not then you may have to consider screens)
  • Extra provision for hand washing / cleaning stations
  • Analyse the flow of people around the office with separate entrance / exit points if possible.

Can you insist employees to take annual leave now / whilst on furlough?

Yes – see our blog about holiday leave.

 We have miscalculated the claim for the coronavirus job retention scheme, can we go back and reclaim?

No unfortunately not, if you underclaim then you cannot amend it and if you overclaim then you are obliged to declare this and pay it back.

Should workers wear face masks?

The advice is confusing that the public are advised to wear them in shops and on public transport. There is no official requirement for employees to wear them in all workplace situations. The guidance has been designed to keep employees safe, so if you are able to maintain social distancing in the workplace, and have hygiene measures in place, then the benefits of masks is minimal.

 We can’t maintain social distancing in our workplace, what else can we do?

In this instance you will need to ask employees to work from home. If you can’t maintain the points in the guidance (i.e. hygiene / maintaining distance) then you will need to consider why your workplace should open. This particularly applies to settings in industries such as hospitality / hairdressers etc. and why they currently remain closed as they cannot safely adhere to the guidance.

Get in touch if you would like advice or guidance on returning to work.