Publication - Advice and guidance
Coronavirus (COVID-19): offices guidance
Guidance to support employers and employees for safer office working, including hybrid working arrangements.
This guidance is for people who work in, or operate offices or similar indoor environments. It provides advice on measures to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and create a safe environment for customers and staff.
This guide is intended to be read alongside: COVID-19 safer businesses and workplaces guidance and the central Staying safe and protecting others guidance.
Following the arrival of the Omicron variant, the law changed so that from 17 December 2021, businesses, places of worship and service providers are required to take reasonable measures and to have regard to guidance issued by Scottish Ministers about measures to minimise risk of exposure to coronavirus within their premises, business or services.
While most of the protective measures for hospitality, events and leisure have been removed throughout January 2022 as the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19 subside, the focus on considering reasonable measures still remains in place.
From 31 January 2022, we encourage employers to consider the implementation of a hybrid approach to working – with workers spending some time in the office and some time at home where that can be done safely. It is recognised that homeworking still remains one of the most effective protections against the virus and for maintaining business resilience.
In line with good practice, employers should work with their employees to consider hybrid and flexible working models to help avoid a wholesale return to offices at this time. These may of course have benefits which go beyond the need to control the virus – for example, economic recovery, attracting and retaining talent, supporting physical and mental wellbeing and environmental initiatives.
A wide variety of models of working have already been successfully trialled prior to the arrival of the Omicron variant by businesses, in consultation with their workforce. Employers and employees are still best placed to understand the most effective balance of home/ flexible/ hybrid working, through collaboration with employees and in discussion with unions where applicable and appropriate.
Employers are encouraged to follow the advice in the COVID-19: Fair work statement. Employees with no union representation can seek advice and assistance from the STUC and Scottish Hazards.