With the easing down of lockdown measures recently announced and some businesses beginning to ramp up trade, one key area for business owners to consider is the wellbeing of furloughed employees returning to work.
A couple of areas to focus on with your employees returning to work:
One to ones
Encourage and support managers in having one to one meetings with returning employees (digitally if necessary). A key focus should be on health, safety and wellbeing. This will allow a positive two-way dialogue.
During this meeting, it’s worth mentioning:
- key policy changes that have been introduced post COVID-19;
- any adjustments that need to be made to facilitate an effective return to work (it could be that some require a phased return to their full role or new working arrangement (due to changes directly as a result of the pandemic);
- Health and safety concerns will remain at a heightened level if employees are returning to a work environment, and reassurance needs to be provided that safeguarding measures are in place. For example, clearly visible signs and posters, and the continued availability of hand sanitisers, is essential;
- explain what measures the business intends to take in response to Government guidelines, for example social distancing.
Employee Assistance Programmes
Communicate your employee assistance programme details or any access to occupational health advisors.
At Haines Watts, we have ensured those on furlough were provided with details of an app based health benefit, which allowed access to a remote GP within 2 hours, second opinions following a medical diagnosis, mental health support and physiotherapy services.
On return to work employees should be reminded of these types of health and support services and also stress the confidentiality element.
The charity MIND also has fantastic resources, free of charge.
The Company culture must be inclusive and employees need to return to a supportive and caring environment.
Finally, workforce changes may inevitably have occurred, therefore it’s important that managers are sensitive to any underlying tensions and confident about nipping potential conflict in the bud.