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Anxiety about returning to work after furlough and lockdown

Jamie Saunders
Posted by Jamie Saunders on 23/06/20 08:27

A YouGov Poll for the CIPD found that 44% of people feel anxious about going back to work because of the health risks posed by Covid-19 to them and those close to them.


People returning may have had Covid-19, they may have had to ‘shield’ for 12 weeks due to health conditions; they may have suffered bereavement; some will be worried about financial security and fearing they will lose their job.


So how can leaders help their people to feel less anxious about their return to work?


1:1 and Group Conversations

The best way to know what to do, is to ask them. Before they return, have conversations – 1:1 and / or group, to find out what’s worrying them and what you can do to alleviate those worries. Understand what’s working or not around lockdown, how are they feeling, are they looking forward to coming back into the office, if not, why, or do they have any requests?


Create a survey

Use free tools like Survey Monkey to create a survey and ask for feedback from your people to understand how they are feeling right now. What concerns they have and what might work best for them as furlough is comes to an end or lockdown relaxes.


Give your team access to Wellbeing tools

There are many wellbeing offerings out there that might help support your people during uncertain times. Mindfulness apps like Headspace and Calm are very popular. Here at Brisk we have teamed with with WrKit to provide a self service wellbeing, learning and lifestyle savings solution. If you would like a free trial of this service, please click the image below.

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Continue working from home

They may be able to continue working from home; or work different hours so they come into contact with fewer people on public transport.



Tell them what plans you are putting in place – help them to understand how social distancing will work in their workplace; what will happen with cleaning, etc. Maybe send them photos of their redesigned workspace so they can see it in advance.


Can you give them reassurances about the security of their job; and even the organisation? If you think, or know, that you’ll need to make people redundant or reduce hours be honest with them and tell them what you’re doing to minimise the risk and what support you’ll be able to give them, for example Outplacement, in the worst-case scenario.


Blog post contributor, HR Professional - Karen Felton of CompassHR

Topics: People, Covid-19, Wellbeing

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