As a manager you might be eager to get everything back to pre-COVID-19, some staff have had as much as 10 weeks off on 80% pay. Many could be reluctant to return to work and would be keen to remain furloughed until such a time that the scheme ends, so what can you do to make the transition as seamless as possible?

  • Maintain communication with your furloughed staff. Keep them up to date with what’s happening with the business and your intentions. If they feel involved in the process it will make it much easier for them to be on board.
  • Try to give notice of your plan – if you can, give your furloughed staff as much notice as possible of the intended return to work date so that staff can prepare. We appreciate this is not always possible as we are all reacting to business needs and furloughed staff need to understand this.
  • Listen to your staff – Staff may have concerns about returning to work and some may not be forthcoming with how they really feel. If someone has childcare issues or someone high risk at home, it may be difficult for them to return them to work. This could result in them feeling anxious and stressed and ultimately they could end up taking time off sick which could further impact your business. Could it be advantageous to keep them on furlough or allow them to work from home?
  • Be flexible – If staff are nervous about returning to work because of the risk of catching Coronavirus, could they have a different working pattern to avoid peak times in the office or on public transport? Could they work from home? Could you offer them a parking space so that they didn’t need to use public transport?
  • Phased return – Could a phased return work for both you as an employer and the employee. By offering this, the employee could acclimatise themselves to getting back to work. Could your employee take a day or two holiday every week or come back on part-time hours? This could help them but also you too if there isn’t the work to support them full-time.
  • Be mindful – Everyone will have dealt and been affected by Covid-19 in their own way and it’s important to understand that whilst some might relish the thought of getting back from the workplace, some are struggling with coming out of the confinement of their “safe bubble”. Take some time to ask staff how they are and be mindful to use appropriate language and offer a compassionate ear.

For more tips and advice on dealing with staffing or recruitment issues relating to the Coronavirus, check out our blog section on our website.

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