In the UK, the majority of employees have been able to keep their livelihoods because the government paid 80% of their salary through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). However, as the pandemic eases and many employees return to work after months of being on furlough, businesses need to take an active stance and re-engage their workers.
Treat each employee as an individual
Each employee will have had a different experience while on furlough and managers need to be aware that when it comes to bringing people back, there will not be a “one-size fits all” solution. It is important to treat each worker as an individual as they return to work. Arrange a catch-up call with them to find out where they are at in their professional and personal lives. Prepare and equip each person for their role, taking their situation into account.
Address demotivation and productivity
It is understandable that after months of being at home, some employees will struggle to find the motivation to return to work. Having clear KPIs from the get-go is a good way to increase productivity as it gives employees something tangible to achieve. It would also be useful to provide employees with resources needed to manage productivity – it is likely that many will not return to the office but will have to continue working from home.
Making a bank of resources readily available for all employees, whether they have been in furlough or not, is worthwhile since mastering productivity is likely to be difficult for everyone. Employees returning from furlough will also not feel they are the only ones to find balancing life with working from home difficult and it will help them feel they are a part of the team.
Focus on company culture
Successful companies have had to be nimble in the past few months, meaning that they have had to change their internal and external policies to adapt to these unprecedented times. Managers should take time to update employees returning from furlough on these changes and should use appropriate communication channels to do so. Employees returning to work should not feel left out or lost in a post-pandemic workplace, but welcomed and valued in this new reality.