Where Do We Go From Here...?

At last the economy is starting to move again, an encouraging thought after the shock of COVID-19 and lockdown. Despite this, the reality of the path ahead is still unclear, and life is unlikely to return to normality for some time. Many businesses are reviewing what to do next, whether that’s bringing staff off furlough, reopening their place of work or restructuring. Whether your company has furloughed the entire team, selected a few for furlough or transformed temporarily to remote working, bringing people ‘back’ needs to be thoughtfully planned.

This will be an unfamiliar scenario for many senior teams to implement. Not only must they deal with the practicalities of a post-COVID workplace – taking social distancing and extra hygiene measures into place – but they also need to empathise with the individual human aspect of how their employees are feeling and what this means for how they may react to the ‘new normal’.

Socially distant workstations and deep cleaning will be at the forefront of our minds, but we must also take the time to understand how employees are feeling about their return to work. To ensure we reduce the time our managers spend on absence requests, grievances, flexible working requests and sickness and wellbeing challenges over the coming months, it’s going to be essential that we listen to, acknowledge and proactively approach any challenges without delay.

Read on for more ‘Thoughts from the HR Patch’ on supporting both employees returning from furlough leave and those returning to work on-site.