Summer is over and the end of the government’s Job Retention Scheme is in sight. With any luck, you’ll be in a position to start bringing staff back to work after furlough. Unfortunately, this process isn’t always simple.
As the economy declines, many employees who are currently on furlough will worry about job security. They may have even started looking for work elsewhere.
These anxieties, combined with a significant amount of time away from the office, can make it incredibly daunting to return to work.
As such, it’s vital that employers communicate clearly with their teams and put a plan of action in place to reintroduce their furloughed staff to work.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. In this article, we share our top tips to help you ease your employees back in.
Keep communicating after furlough
It’s always important to communicate well with your employees. But, it’s especially crucial during this difficult time. Hopefully, you’ve kept in regular touch with your team members throughout lockdown. But if not, try organising a video chat or phone call a couple of weeks before you start bringing staff back to work after furlough.
This gives you the opportunity to fill them in on any company updates well in advance; while also providing your team members with the time they need to mentally prepare for these changes.
What’s more, follow this up with regular catch-ups once they’re back at work. This gives the employee a chance to voice any concerns they might have; and an opportunity for you to think of ways to help.
Ease them in
It’s really important that your team members don’t feel overwhelmed when they arrive back at the workplace. As such, it’s good to stagger their return to work. This is allowed through the flexible furlough scheme.
Before you begin bringing staff back to work after furlough, take some time to think about the hours you might like them to do over the first few weeks. For example, they may start by working one or two days a week to begin with; before slowly ramping up to more days over the course of a month.
Once you’ve had a think about what will work, you can then discuss this plan with your team member before they return. Bear in mind that they might want to come back to work at a different pace than what you had planned; and that should be completely fine.
If this is the case, be considerate of their needs and try to compromise by finding a solution that you’re both comfortable with.
Have a plan
Once you’ve decided on a staggered working pattern, you need to figure out what they’ll be working on during their reduced hours. You may need to put certain tasks on hold until they’re back at full capacity.
So, focus on the main tasks that they can do in their current hours. This will enable your team to get used to being back in a work environment, without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
If possible, try to let your team members know what they’ll be doing before you start bringing them back to work after furlough. Hopefully, this will help to alleviate any anxieties they may have; as they should have an idea of what to expect, well in advance.
Also, remember that many employees will feel nervous about returning to work. Their confidence may be low; they may be feeling anxious; and they may be worried about job security.
This means they will need extra support and guidance in those first few weeks. It’s totally normal for them to feel a bit unsure about what they’re doing. After all, some employees may have been out of the office for almost six months!
This might take the form of daily or weekly catch-ups; re-distributing their workload; or simply letting them know that you’re there to talk to if they need it.
Offering extra support will help them hit the ground running; and get back to their usual capacity in no time. Not only that, it will make your staff feel more comfortable coming to you for help, in the long run.
Bringing staff back to work after furlough
After the uncertainty of the last few months, it’s great that more businesses are bringing staff back to work after furlough. However, there’s no doubt that this process will present its own challenges.
That said, if employers follow this advice, they’ll mitigate most problems before they arise.
So, don’t wait around for staff to come to you. Get ahead of the game and welcome them back to the office using the strategies we’ve covered above.