Workers will not be told to return to offices en masse on July 19 even if the Government’s official work from home guidance is lifted, The Telegraph understands.
Boris Johnson is understood to be eager to scrap the current blanket advice which says "everyone who can work from home must do so", with the change now expected.
But Downing Street officials are not planning a return to the messaging adopted last summer that attempted to encourage people to start commuting into work again.
"It is unlikely we will be saying ‘everyone go back to work’," said a senior government source about what is expected to be announced later in the month.
Instead, a greater focus on "personal responsibility" is expected, with employers and employees urged to be the deciders in making sure work environments are safe.
Companies could be encouraged to continue to tell their employees to wear face masks and regularly use hand sanitisers in a bid to limit the risks of working from the office.
Some financial firms in London are already regularly testing employees for Covid before they can go into work in a sign of how they may take the lead on what becomes the norm.
Working from home poll
A source close to Mr Johnson stressed that conversations about what exact announcements are made on work from home guidance remain fluid. Given that any change in guidance would shape how tens of millions of people work, including triggering a likely surge in commuting, officials are alive to the health implications of relaxing the rules.
The final step of reopening from lockdown in England is due to be taken on July 19. It was put off once, from June 21, but Mr Johnson called July 19 the "terminus date".
Ministers on the influential Covid Operations Cabinet committee met on Friday to discuss the long list of potential changes to be adopted on that date.
The list of topics for discussion included one metre-plus rules for inside pubs and restaurants, the wearing of face masks, work from home guidance and international travel for people doubled-jabbed with Covid vaccines.
It is understood the meeting will be followed by a second this Monday, with so much to discuss that it was felt best to split the agenda across two days.
Rules that force people who have received both doses of the Covid vaccine to isolate for 10 days if they come into contact with someone with the virus are set to be scrapped. Ministers at the "Covid-O" meeting have been asked to approve an exemption for people who have been double-vaccinated, with a system of daily tests to be allowed instead.
The news will be welcomed by employers who risk having whole workplaces sent home if a single person catches Covid, even if staff test negative for days on end. The same is understood to be true for children, with those aged under 18 to be allowed to do daily tests rather than self-isolate if they are pinged by the NHS Test and Trace app.
Laws underpinning Covid rules, including capping groups gathering inside to six people or two households, are expected to expire at the end of the month and not be extended.
It means legally binding rules on face masks are likely to end, but people may still be advised to keep wearing them in certain settings such as on public transport or in care homes.
Mr Johnson told The Telegraph earlier this year that he hoped workers would be able to get back to the office if required at the original final reopening stage on June 21. "If their work requires them to go back to the office then they should go back to the office. But we’re not at that stage yet," he said.