Sources at the Wiltshire appliance manufacturer told The Guardian that staff were asked to work in the office on rotating shift patterns from Monday, May 18.
But it is understood the request sparked anger from employees and the company reversed its decision a day later.
The Guardian says it has seen emails sent by chief executive Roland Krueger that confirm staff were told they should start returning to work.
It reports the first was sent on Friday after work hours, leaving employees with little time to prepare. It informed recipients that Dyson had “reopened our UK campus” and that staff would be divided into two rotating teams, alternating between home and office working.
The proposal would have meant some staff having to travel to the firm’s sites at Hullavington and Malmesbury, even if they were able to work from home.
According to The Guardian, an email sent by Mr Krueger the next day said Dyson had “reviewed the practicalities” and decided not to implement the proposal.
One anonymous worker told The Guardian: “Everyone was very unhappy,” said the source.
“If they’d had their way, there would have been 2,500 people in the office and I’d estimate 60 per cent of those could work from home with a low impact.”
Three other sources offered the same version of events to the national newspaper.
One said Dyson’s actions were a “uniquely dangerous form of presenteeism”.
“My main concern is that it flies in the face of the government guidance of our civic duty to stay at home where possible,” the employee told The Guardian.
A statement from Dyson said: “Our Campus has remained open throughout the crisis as 450 people joined the national effort to create Dyson’s emergency Covid-19 ventilator – which mercifully was not needed.
“The health and wellbeing of our people is our number one priority and we are taking all the appropriate steps to keep those people on campus safe, including distancing, mandatory wearing of face masks, enhanced cleaning protocols and temperature checking.
“Some of our activities are creative and lab-based so we are now balancing work from home arrangements with working on campus, for those unable to work from home.
"Dyson has not furloughed any staff anywhere in the world, or accepted any Covid-19 financial assistance anywhere in the world.”