Thanks to local Employment Law and HR Solicitors, Evans Lamsley for these top tips on bringing staff back into the workplace:
- Read the Government guidance on keeping your workplace safe and getting the physical environment ready for staff and keep up to date on developments and changes.
- Send your first email to your employees preparing them for the return and ask for feedback. The purpose of this email is to reassure staff that we are compliant and that their safety is our top priority. This communication can include:
- How you have prepared the work environment
- How staff can travel to and from work;
- Any planned adjustments to the workplace
- If there will be a phased return of the workforce
- Arrange a return-to-work call for each employee if you can. We should try to understand the personal circumstances for each employee so that we can tackle concerns ahead of time. Everyone is dealing with Covid-19 and lockdown in different ways and they may have different challenges in their own life.
- Share your Covid-19 risk assessment with staff. If you receive feedback, update the risk assessment based on that feedback or explain to staff why it is not being updated.
- Invite the staff to a remote training/briefing session to discuss the steps you have taken. Go through how they can keep themselves and others safe.
- As soon as you know when you need staff to return to work, give them as much notice as possible of the date. There is no set legal requirement for the length of notice, but the more you can give, the easier it will be to deal with issues. Staff will have more time to make arrangements like childcare.
- Provide weekly updates on progress and signpost for support.
- On the return-to-work day, arrange a meeting with staff and keep the lines of communication going – keep your door open. Dealing with issues as they arise quickly and effectively is key.
- Ultimately, give staff the power to raise issues so that they do not affect operational requirements or their performance.
- Staff will have very different furlough experiences and some will prefer to stay off work on furlough pay. However, being furloughed is not legal right for an employee and if there is sufficient work for staff to return to work, you can ask staff to return. Failure to return to work could potentially be a disciplinary issue. It will be much harder to discipline staff if their objection to returning is their safety and so it is important that we ensure that we put the steps above in place and reassure staff.
Thank you for reading ‘Top Tips For A Positive Return To Work Or Return From Furlough’. For more Covid-19 updates, click here.