9th June 2020
If you are one of the 6.3 million people in the UK who have been temporarily furloughed from your role, then you may feel anxious or overwhelmed at the thought of returning to work over the coming weeks.
With most businesses preparing to re-open over June and into July you might have a few weeks left of your leave before you need to get back to the grindstone.
How can you prepare yourself to get back to normality?
#1 Start getting back into a routine. It can be easy to slip into a slower pace of life during lockdown and many people are probably out of sync with their usual routine. Now is the time to start managing your time and creating structure – even if it is just set mealtimes and exercise for now.
#2 Adjust your body clock. Without work to get up for and the usual day-to-day routines it can be tempting to stay up late at night and sleep in during the mornings. Now is the time to start getting to bed earlier and setting an alarm clock each morning to get into good habits.
#3 Tune back into work. When on furlough you are not able to do any work for your employer, but it might help to get your mind back to work by reading articles, getting up to date with industry news, checking your LinkedIn account or catching up with colleagues.
#4 Voice your Concerns. If you have any worries about returning to work, either how you will practically be able to get to work or juggle childcare commitments or how you personally feel about returning to work, speak to your manager to see if they are able to accommodate.
#5 Dress the Part. After weeks of lounge wear or summer clothes (thanks to the lovely hot weather we have had in the UK) it is time to dust off your work wear. If you wear a uniform, name badge, protective shoes or any other required clothing then make sure it is clean and ready.
#6 Check Provisions. It may be worth checking if you need to prepare anything before you return to work. Will you need to bring your own mug, bottled water, tea, lunch etc? As these services may not continue as before.
#7 Are you ready? This has been a difficult time for many. Particularly households who have experienced death, poor health, loss of income or struggled with mental health. If you are filled with dread at the thought of returning to work because you are not in a good mindset, then it may be worth speaking to your employer before returning to see if you can have more time, work flexible hours or have some provisions put in place for you.
#8 Ask for help. Once you have returned to work, do not be afraid to ask for help from your manager or employer. If you are feeling a bit rusty and need a reminder or some additional training, then ask for it. It is better to ask for help than make mistakes at work. Subsequently, if you need more support to help your mental wellbeing or need more support to make you feel comfortable working with the potential risk of Covid-19 then suggest ways that your employer can help you.
#9 Be Kind to Yourself. Having an extended period of time away from your normal routine or workplace is likely to have an effect on you. Do not put pressure on yourself to bounce back to normality. You are likely to be mentally and physically exhausted when you return to work – reward yourself with some rest at the weekends.
#10 Be Positive. Going back to work this Summer is almost like the start of a new school term, a fresh start and a chance to commence on a positive note. There are likely to be some changes and challenges along the way but try to embrace them by remaining positive.
Covid-19 has created one of the biggest, hardest-hitting challenges that most businesses have ever seen. A large number of businesses have collapsed or been forced to make cut-backs in the form of scaling back, closing premises or making redundancies.
As you return to work keep in mind how much the company you work for is relying on your hard work and loyalty to help them recover from this difficult period.
It is important to realise that your office or workplace may not function in the same way before you went on furlough. There will be new procedures and policies to follow in order to keep you, your colleagues and customers safe. There may also be some physical changes to your working environment such as desk moves, screens and posters in place.
Try to think about what the ‘new normal’ will look like before you step foot back into the workplace so that you are prepared for what you will find.
If you find yourself in conflict with your employer, think you are not being treated fairly or you feel that your employer is not making reasonable adjustments to enable you to return to work then you may need to seek legal advice in order to find a way forward.
If you have been issued with a settlement agreement, then our specialist employment lawyers are on hand to help you make sense of your terms, reach agreement and explain your rights.
Call us on 01256 844888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our online chat assistant via our website.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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