Returning to work: Life after furlough.
Many people returning from furlough will be feeling anxious and disconnected. There are ways in which companies can help people readjust to working life and removing those concerns.
Outdoor hospitality and retail reopened on the 12th of April. With many furlough workers returning from work, many of them have been out of work for an extended period. Where working from home hasn’t been possible, a June return has been predicted. Managing this transition should be a priority for companies to allow it to be successful.
Returning to work can be daunting and create anxiety for many and can impact people’s wellbeing. Managing the impact on peoples psychological health and wellbeing should be a primary concern. Most companies would have kept in contact with their employees, keeping them up to date with any changes. Integrating people back into the workplace should be no different. Companies should let their employees know as soon as possible, even if it is provisional. Allow people to prepare and a period where concerns can be raised.
Be transparent with employees about their part in supporting the business. Setting goals for your employees that align with the company goals will help engagement and motivation. In addition to that, being flexible with hours and days will be beneficial for all parties.
Engagement of employees
Many companies made changes to their working practices, company policies, and health and safety. Communicate these with employees at the earliest date. Communications should be done face-to-face as long as social distancing measures are in place. Virtual communications are okay as long as there is an opportunity for questions.
Some common concerns will be health and safety, job security, and flexibility. Redundancy will also be a continuous thought due to the reduction or loss in workload. Where redundancy is a possibility, employers need to be transparent with their employees. Communicating with employees as much as possible will reduce the amount of concern and increase positivity and engagement.
Each person that is returning to work will need to have the transition to be personalised to them. Each person will have a different situation, and being flexible will allow your employees to feel important and valued. Take into consideration personal feelings, the length of furlough, the number of people, whether it will be working in a workplace or at home, and any changes to personal life or health.
Some job roles may need altering to align with any changes in the company or industry. Will staff members need additional skills due to an increase in people suffering from mental health issues? Employers will need to make sure that they have training in place for the relevant staff members. On the flip side, many people have increased their skillset during furlough, which should be noticed and acted upon accordingly.
Research has confirmed that one of the primary reasons for anxiety is the sense of losing control within this transitional period. Be sure that there is appropriate support for this. Coaching, counselling or mental support should be included where needed. These adjustments can help employees take control and develop a mindset to move forward with confidence and positivity.