Coronavirus (COVID-19)—safe working in an office environment
Produced in partnership with Melanie O'Brien of DG Legal
Coronavirus (COVID-19)—safe working in an office environment

The following Practice Management practice note produced in partnership with Melanie O'Brien of DG Legal provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)—safe working in an office environment
  • Employer’s obligations
  • Priority actions
  • Risk assessment
  • Who should be in the workplace
  • Workplaces
  • Office working procedures in light of the pandemic
  • Public transport
  • Social distancing
  • Social distancing—entering, exiting and moving around the workplace
  • More...

Government guidance for England is that office workers who can work from home should work from home. This does mean however that you may still have workers in your workplace who cannot work from home.

If you keep your office or other workplaces open, or if you are re-opening office premises as restrictions ease, then your organisation must ensure any employees working in the workplace stay protected and observe the guidance issued by the government in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in order to stay safe. You can only open your office premises if they’re COVID-secure.

This Practice Note considers employers’ health and safety obligations and the implications of the coronavirus for office working procedures and workplace safety. It covers coronavirus-related health and safety issues in an office-based workplace in England. Other industry/workplace-specific requirements may apply in different working environments. This Practice Note reflects the government’s guidance for employers, employees and the self-employed on working safely during coronavirus in offices and contact centres. The government guidance is in addition to, and does not supersede, an employer’s general health and safety obligations—see: Employer’s obligations below.

See also: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—safe working in an office environment—checklist.

Employer’s obligations

An employer has a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of its employees at work and others who may be affected by what it does

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