The right to work from home could be enshrined in law so that staff can continue operating remotely after lockdown.
Ministers hope it will also reduce commuter congestion on public transport. The proposal reportedly has their support.
One told the Telegraph: ‘It makes complete sense.’
The move will likely go down well with the newly-acquired Conservative seats from the December election.
PM Boris Johnson, in his 2019 party manifesto, committed to giving the workforce the right to more flexibility.
It said: ‘We will encourage flexible working and consult on making it the default unless employers have good reasons not to.’
The idea dates back to a review by political strategist Matthew Taylor in 2017, in which he wrote: ‘Encouraging flexible work is good for everyone and has been shown to have a positive impact on productivity, worker retention and quality of work.’
The government replied in 2018 with ministers saying ‘as part of the statutory evaluation of the Right to Request Flexible Working in 2019, the Government should consider how further to promote genuine flexibility in the workplace’.
If the law is passed, companies will only be allowed to refuse a home-working request if the employee’s tasks can only be done in the workplace.
Employers will also be asked to pay for face masks for staff who return to the office.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said the right to work from home would be a ‘big step forward’.
Liberal Democrat frontbencher Layla Moran added: ‘I believe this change would benefit both the employees and the employers, and has the potential to be a win-win.’
A Government spokesman said: ‘The Business Secretary continues to work with businesses, union leaders and the science and medical community so we can ensure workplaces are safe for those who will go back to work once the measures are relaxed and give people the confidence to return to work.’