HR · 15 July 2020

How to return furloughed staff to work


Now, with lockdown restrictions slowly beginning to ease, offices are planning for reopening. A new blended? model of working will become the norm, with some employees always working from home, in the office or a combination of both.ClearPeople CEO, Katya LinossI discusses how employers can get their furloughed staff back to work.

Not everyone has been working, some of our colleagues have been furloughed or working reduced hours. Employers must look beyond the present and plan for those missing colleagues to return to the workplace. This is exciting but will provide a challenge; furloughed staff will need to be brought up to speed after missing out on weeks of activity.

Ensuring these staff members are re-immersed will be essential, both from a productivity point of view but also allowing them to feel connected to both their company and colleagues.There will be many ongoing issues relating to the new processes and practises after the COVID-19 outbreak. Companies will need to rapidly digitise to facilitate their employees preferences and keep up momentum.

Re-engaging and re-uniting furlough employees

Over the last few months it is likely that furloughed staff will have become disengaged and out of touch. Therefore, rebuilding a strong culture and providing your employees with new, valuable updates must be a priority.

With company dynamics expected to be firmly under the microscope, it is paramount that everyone understands the new goals of their business and where it is headed. Creating strong, aligned values will help to build culture and identity, helping to unite employees and set a clear direction.

The pandemic has been life changing for many, there will be a diverse range of impact across employees. With some being affected more than others, this unbalanced effect of people’s work and personal experience may present themselves as negative feelings in the new working environment. Inclusivity is therefore vital, managers should be sensitive to any underlying tension and resolve any early signs of conflict within teams.

Returning to work especially when there have been changes whilst away, may be daunting to some employees, feeling left behind. To help bring staff back into work, we are working with our clients to get their digital workspace well prepared.

Returning employees must have all the tools they need on their first day back and will be provided with welcome back videos from the leadership team, detailed business updates and more. Everyone will need remote access to useful resources such as return to work checklists and advice on health and safety and potential travel, as well as answers to any questions they may have.

Businesses must facilitate open discussions where staff can talk freely, support one and other, ask for advice or simply catch, whether this is digitally or in-person. Due to the potential sensitivity of the situation, managers will need to go above and beyond to welcome their colleagues back, providing the opportunity for key updates regarding any adjustments to facilitate effective returns to work.

Managers should be equipped to detail any in-company changes following the lockdown, such as changes to services or procedures, new working arrangements, or how to deal with legacy customer queries. This is likely to be the biggest single shift in the fabric of our society and whole-scale changes are essential to evolve with the situation. Knowledge is power, so the more information you can share with your employees, the better, allowing faster adaptation to embrace their new working world.




Katya Linossi is the co-founder and CEO of ClearPeople. She has over 20 years? experience in the IT industry, most recently scaling and leading the technology business that provides digital workplace solutions for enterprises.

High Streets Initiative