Should You Wear Face Masks in the Office?

3 months ago

It’s been pretty tricky to keep up with ever changing guidance around Covid recently. Understandably, the situation moves fast and guidance does too. But I’ll be honest. Some days it’s felt a bit like this…

In March we were told to work from home. Then it was “go back to work.” And more recently we’ve been told to work from home “if you can.”


Ultimately, that means some are still in the office. Many who are unable to do their jobs from home will be in offices with varying numbers of people in them. There’s guidance on social distancing in offices, but what about face masks?

Do you have to wear face masks in offices?

So we’ve been told that face masks are mandatory in supermarkets and other shops for quite some time. And more recently, they were made mandatory in other public spaces like art galleries. You are also now expected to wear your face mask in a restaurant when not seated at your table. We have to wear them on public transport, in taxis and private hire vehicles and around transport hubs like airports and train stations.

Staff in supermarkets and other public places have been asked to wear face masks as well. So what about office workers?

Well, the Government advises us:


Face coverings are not mandatory in offices, although they are required for customers and staff in some businesses that are customer facing, such as:

  • banks
  • building societies
  • post offices
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services
  • estate agents
  • auction houses
  • Government Website

    They then go on to add:

    Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one.

    Government Website

    In other words, face masks are optional in offices that are not open to the public


    That answers the question of “do I have to wear a face mask in the office?” But doesn’t deal with the question of whether or not you should.


    There’s a growing bank of evidence to suggest that face coverings can absolutely reduce the likelihood of transmission.

    So there’s an argument that suggests if you’re in an office where social distancing isn’t particularly easy, that it could be beneficial to do so.

    In the end, this comes down to personal choice for now.

    My small consultancy of 6 people operates from a business centre in a small village. It’s not busy at all. We have a lot more space than the 6 of us need and social distancing is therefore easy. The team is working from home where possible, but where tasks require equipment in the office or in person collaboration, a handful of us have been in at any given time.

    We’re generally not wearing face masks in the office, but some are around the corridors of the business centre.

    Right now, it’s personal choice. But in this very fast moving situation, things could change any time.

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