Supporting the wellbeing of furloughed employees returning to work

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Health Assured team

29 June 2020

According to figures from HM Revenue & Customs, one in four employees in the UK have been furloughed since the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was first announced in April 2020.


With lockdown restrictions being slowly and carefully lifted across the UK and Ireland, employers from various sectors will be steadily preparing their workplaces ahead of the return of their team members.


The wellbeing of your returning team members will no doubt be the focus of your plans, however, special consideration should be made for those returning from furlough leave.


The wellbeing of furloughed staff

If you have any team members who have been placed on furlough, the thought of returning back to work after an extended leave of absence may cause a strain on their emotional wellbeing.


Depending on your business, you may have had team members working from home during the pandemic. For these individuals, the news of returning to the workplace may appear less daunting, as they have maintained some semblance of a work routine.


How can I support furloughed employees returning to work?

To help you navigate the wellbeing of your returning furlough team members, we have listed several tips to consider in the lead up to your organisation opening its doors again.


  • Communication is key - The simplest yet most effective method of reassuring your employees is by keeping them in the loop regularly. In the weeks leading up to you opening your workplace, ensure that you lay out your plan as clear as possible, detailing the measures you are putting place ensuring the health and safety of your people.
  • Virtual meetings - Host informal virtual meetings with your furloughed employees. During these meetings, you can discuss any worries they may have and the reasonable adjustments that you can provide to make their return easier, such as a staggered approach to their working schedule and flexible working hours to avoid peak travel times.
  • Work atmosphere - Your workplace will navigate this transition much easier if you help generate a positive and inclusive working environment - as one unified team. However, some employees may have strong feelings in regards to their imminent return to work. Ensure that your management team make themselves available to help reduce any potential tensions or conflicts.
  • Contact us - If you’re concerned about a member of your team transitioning back to work, refer them to Health Assured’s 24/7 confidential helpline. Here, they can talk through any worries or concerns they may have with a qualified counsellor, in a non-judgemental and confidential setting.


If your workplace is not in a position to welcome all its team members back yet, there are plenty of ways to help your furloughed employees remain focused and stimulated during these challenging times. For some ideas, take a look at our COVID-19: Supporting employee development blog post.


It’s important to know that all of your employees, whether they have been working from home, placed on furlough or remained in the workplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, will likely have been affected by the virus in some way,


Whether it be physically or emotionally, the pandemic has taken a toll on us all, and while we begin to transition to the ‘new normal’, it’s vital that employers put measures in place to protect the wellbeing of their team members.



If you would like to find out more information on any of the topics mentioned in this article, please contact Health Assured on:

UK: 0844 892 2493

ROI: 01 886 0324


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