Back to the workplace – Reintegrating furloughed employees

At the start of the Coronavirus lockdown, the job retention scheme supported many businesses through the unforeseen circumstances, allowing for employees across the country to become furloughed. However, as the end of lockdown is now appearing in the far distance, the time has come to plan for the safe return to the workplace.

There will be many a question on who can and who will return to the workplace once the restrictions are eased. Connecting with your employees during the lead up to the return would be beneficial for this decision. Finding out how your staff have dealt with the duration of lockdown and the virus, and the nerves that they may or may not have towards the situation, will allow you to eliminate a few from your ‘return to work’ lineup. It is also important to remember that each employee which you request to return may have different preferences or wishes for this situation and you should take these into consideration.

Once you have decided on the staff members who are able to safely make a return to the workplace, there are additional things that you may want to prepare for.

Lack of communication. Throughout this furloughed period, updates about job roles or the company may have been paused, resulting in the staff being unaware of any progress or reports. To make up for this temporary lack of communication, it would be beneficial to hold a meeting for all staff, either upon or prior to their return, virtually or in the office itself.

Possible contract alterations. When returning to the workplace after a furloughed period, some members of staff may have requested, or have been asked, to work different days or hours. Information such as this should be clearly stated in a contract for your employees to look over before returning. This will provide both you and your staff with clear and concise knowledge on what to expect, allowing you to plan for the weeks and months ahead.

Policy refresher. After such a long time period away from normality, their desks and the working world, it may be beneficial to refresh each member of staff on the company policies and regulations. There may also have been some alterations post-furlough that they will need to make themselves aware of. You will be able to refer back to proof of their knowledge on the policies if you request a simple email stating that they have read and understood the company’s regulations.

Training refresher. As well as the need of a policy refresher, your employee’s brains may need a little re-boot to remember their specialties and important skills. A simple training day will allow this to happen naturally and effectively, allowing them to sit back at their desks and continue as though there hasn’t been a three-month break.

Social distancing walk through. As expected, each member of staff, including yourself, will be expected to have a walk through and demonstration of the new social distancing rules and how they will take place within your place of work. You may also wish for your employees to sign a document to keep track of who has taken a part in this walk through, allowing you to refer back to in it the future should internal staff checks be made.

We have all experienced difficulties in regard to the working world throughout the beginning of this year and the upcoming months may continue to challenge us. Here at Hammonds, we are here to support your business in any way we can. To find out what we could do to assist you, contact us by calling 0203 007 4990 or emailing .