David Price

Member Article

Supporting the wellbeing of furloughed employees returning to work

According to figures from HM Revenue & Customs, some 9.3 million people have been furloughed under the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

With lockdown restrictions being slowly and carefully lifted across the UK, employers from various sectors will be steadily preparing their workplaces ahead of the return of their team members.

The wellbeing of your returning team members will no doubt be the focus of your plans. However, special consideration should be made for those returning from furlough leave.

The wellbeing of furloughed staff

If you have any team members who have been placed on furlough, the thought of returning to work after an extended leave of absence may cause a strain on their emotional wellbeing.

Depending on your business, you may have had team members working from home during the pandemic. For these individuals, the news of returning to the workplace may appear less daunting, as they have maintained some semblance of a work routine.

How can I support furloughed employees returning to work?

To help you navigate the wellbeing of your returning furlough team members, here are three tips to consider in the lead up to your organisation opening its doors again to them.

  • Communication is key - The simplest yet most effective method of reassuring your employees is by keeping them in the loop regularly. In the weeks leading up to you opening your workplace, ensure that you lay out your plan as clear as possible, detailing the measures you are putting place ensuring the health and safety of your people.
  • Virtual meetings - Host informal virtual meetings with your furloughed employees. During these meetings, you can discuss any worries they may have and the reasonable adjustments that you can provide to make their return easier, such as a staggered approach to their working schedule and flexible working hours to avoid peak travel times.
  • Work atmosphere - Your workplace will navigate this transition much easier if you help generate a positive and inclusive working environment - as one unified team. However, some employees may have strong feelings in regards to their imminent return to work. Ensure that your management team make themselves available to help reduce any potential tensions or conflicts.

If your workplace is not in a position to welcome all its team members back yet, there are plenty of ways to help your furloughed employees remain focused and stimulated during these challenging times

It’s important to know that all of your employees, whether they have been working from home, placed on furlough or remained in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, will likely have been affected by the virus in some way,

Whether it be physically or emotionally, the pandemic has taken a toll on us all, and while we begin to transition to the ‘new normal’, it’s vital that employers put measures in place to protect the wellbeing of their team members.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by David Price .

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