Are you starting to think about reopening your business and bringing your staff back to work?

If so, here are a few points for you to consider and some things to bear in mind…

  • Regularly refer to the latest Government guidance for COVID-19 as they are being revised periodically. Useful resources include things like:

Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

COVID-19: cleaning of non-healthcare settings – GOV.UK

Industry specific guidelines: Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) – Guidance – GOV.UK

  • Decide what your priorities are and what it is that you want to achieve from returning to work.
  • Consider all options and have a range of plans, potentially on a phased basis, so that the business is ready to move quickly as and when lock down restrictions are lifted in stages. 
  • If your business operates internationally, you will need to consider any guidelines and restrictions that apply in other countries too.
  • Which roles will need to return first? What criteria will you use to identify the roles and employees to return? 
  • Think about things such as whether the premises will need a deep clean before re-opening, if PPE will need to be provided, how will meetings or client site visits be held etc.
  • Look at returning to work in phases, prioritised not only on business needs but also the safety and personal circumstances of employees eg school closures and childcare responsibilities, maybe they have suffered a COVID-19 bereavement, they could be concerned for their own health etc. Bear in mind that some individuals may also still be in self-isolation or shielding.
  • Review the skills requirements that the company is going to need, both immediately and longer term. 
    • Do any roles and responsibilities need amending and job descriptions updating to reflect new ways of working? 
    • Will any employees need to agree to new duties either on a temporary or permanent basis?
    • Assess employees against role requirements and if required, agree a development plan for them. 
    • Is there any training staff can do before they come back to the workplace in readiness for what they will be doing?
  • Make sure any criteria used to select employees for returning to work does not discriminate in any way, that it is reasonable and fair and that the decision making process is fully documented. 
  • Keep employees updated regarding any plans eg what you are doing, why you are doing it, what they need to do etc and give as much notice as possible of any changes that will affect them.
  • Confirm in writing to individual employees that their period of time on Furlough is coming to an end, that they will be expected to return to work on [date], their place of work will be [business premises, home etc] from [date] their employment status will return to that of “employee” and their normal rates of pay will resume etc. If you would like a free template letter, please email me at
  • Make sure all actions and decisions are documented and any changes agreed to and signed for by individual employees in case of future disputes or audits.