How to Bring Your Employees Back from Furlough

Morna Ronnie

Although the government scheme is due to run until October, many businesses are now looking to bring back employees from furlough as some sectors start to pick up. Whether that is on a full- or part-time basis, there are many things you will want to consider before picking up the phone to your teams.

How you bring your employees back from furlough – not just when – could have a massive impact on your business. Bringing staff back from furlough is an opportunity to live your company values and culture. If your employees are truly your greatest asset, then make them feel that way. In years to come they may not remember the detail of how they came back to work but they will remember how they felt.

Here’s the Back in Business guide to getting it right.

Don’t assume you know how they are feeling about coming back

Regular two way communication is key to successfully bringing your teams back. Many may feel uptight about returning to work whilst others will be delighted. Open and honest dialogue will be crucial in order to provide the correct support.

Give plenty of notice and have everything set up

Don’t phone someone on a Monday and ask them to come back on a Tuesday. People have got into different routines during lockdown and furlough and may need to make arrangements for childcare. Have all the tech / passwords / systems access your employee needs ready for the morning they start – no one wants to spend hours on the phone to IT support.

Be clear about the terms on which they are returning

Is it part time work or flexible furlough? Or will they be back five days a week? Will they be expected to take on a different role within the business? Will they be expected to work as part of a shift pattern?

Ensure you know and comply with the law

If staff will be returning to the workplace, ensure you have all the necessary health and safety measures in place and let them know what these are and how they are expected to be used. For those working from home on flexible furlough, ensure that they are compliant with their designated working hours – or you could risk a fine.

Provide mental health support

This entire situation – since March – has been so challenging in so many different ways. Are your employees ready to get back to work? Are they anxious about travelling to the office or setting up from home? Be ready to offer useful mental health resources and encourage your HR team to seek out and offer as much support as possible to the wider business.

Discuss flexible working options

As noted earlier, some employees may still be in need of childcare or have been looking after their parents. Don’t be rigid about a 9 – 5. Offer flexible working patterns for as long as they are needed and be prepared to adjust these as things change.

Support them to rebuild their confidence and to build resilience

Whether your staff have been on furlough for 3 weeks or 3 months, they may feel disconnected from their team or have some anxiety about returning to work. It’s natural for them to feel that things have moved on without them; that they may be a bit “rusty” and out of touch; to lose their confidence. We don’t know what the future holds, and resilience will be key for us all.

If you would like to bring your employees back from furlough, but aren’t sure how to offer support, our bespoke, online re-induction sessions are highly cost effective and will enable you to re-engage your employees and help mitigate any potential pitfalls.

Interested? Click here to drop me an email and find out more.


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