Introducing Your Furloughed Staff Back Into Work

26th August 2020

Clare Ward

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The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in 7.5 million employees being furloughed. Getting back into work mode is going to be easier said than done, it’d hard enough getting back into the swing of things after returning from a 2 week holiday! To make the transition from going back to work easier for your staff, here are some ideas on how you can ensure that work doesn’t become an overwhelming task. 

Give them time to settle in

It could take them months to feel like they’re back into the swing of things and they may be feeling a little out of sorts, so it’s important that you check in with them regularly and make sure that they feel like they are not being left behind and there is a strong relationship between managers and employees so that they can communicate their concerns or thoughts. Please bear in mind the there may be an element of resentment from employees who have been furloughed. You could also break tasks down into smaller, more manageable sized tasks so that there are no overwhelming items on their checklist, this way there is still a sense of achievement as these smaller tasks are being ticked off their list for the day. Using 1-2-1’s as an opportunity to ask about how they think you could make the transition easier, is also a great way to ease them back into work, you could even offer them extra training to refresh their skill sets. 

Demonstrate that their safety and wellbeing is paramount

Although we are all keen to get the wheels back in motion and to get back to how we used to be as soon as possible, we need to remember that the virus is still very much a risk. You must demonstrate to your workforce that their health and wellbeing is at the forefront of your mind, this can be done though providing suitable levels of PPE, communicating social distancing and other safety measures, setting up an employee assistance programme where an individual (manager) is appointed to help out any of the workforce who have concerns over their wellbeing within or outside of the workplace. 

Empower your employees

Give them a sense of purpose and belonging by establishing communication channels between employees and decision makers, as well as re-establishing working relationships with their immediate team as well as other employees within the organisation. By keeping communication channels open and giving everyone a voice, this can have a huge impact on staff retention and their effort levels they put into work, as they feel more committed and want to perform, with maybe a goal in mind of progressing within the organisation. 

Working structure may need to change 

Most furloughed workers have been living their lives without the regular day structure of a 9-5, so they have established a completely new routine, which may take some time for them to detach from. Considering using core working hours such as 11:00 – 15:00, which allows employees to flex their working hours around this. Another way to change up their working structure is to furlough some employees of similar job titles, and then after a period of time, they will come off furlough and be swapped with another employee, in a rotation style. As well as this, allowing the your employees the freedom of working remotely 2 or 3 times a month can also be a good way to ease them into work. 

The road back to normality is uncertain (as has been everything else for the past few months) but by using some of these points as a starting point when integrating your team back into work, you should see a result is much more smooth and successful than if you were to just carry on as usual. 

If you’re looking for staffing solutions, contact our friendly team today, we look forward to hearing from you! SP// #wevegotyourback

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