Returning to Work

As businesses start to map out the scenarios for the coming months, the numerous issues caused by the impact of Covid-19 mean planning is crucial:

  • Trading levels – compared to ‘normal’ are you looking at 30%, 50%, 70% or will they be higher than they were?
  • Forecasted growth – do you see growth from those starting points in months or years?
  • Customer behaviour and payment terms – when are your customers returning – how long before payments start coming in?
  • Supply chain – are your suppliers still able to trade with you? What alternatives do you have?

What does all of this mean for your people:

  • Who returns to the workplace?
  • When can /should that be? And how do you do that safely?
  • Do you need more people – is recruitment on the horizon?

Is it looking like you’re going to have to restructure or make redundancies?

If redundancies are the only option the process needs starting very soon or you will be paying their notice period after the end of furlough in addition to their redundancy costs.

If the reality is somewhere between growth and having to make redundancies, the consideration must be about who are you going to need where and by when and it needs to be done person by person:

You will need to consider whether or not your employees are returned on a team, shift or cross department basis, and be able to demonstrate the rationale behind your decision. You must keep notes of your decisions in case there is future challenge – this may come from an employee or from HMRC about Furlough leave and why it was / not applied. There’s also need to consider if the need for social distancing would impact the number of people you can have in the business at any one time.

This is before the Health & Safety realities and other practical elements are considered!

Communication is key

Communication between businesses and their employees has been key so far and it will continue to be so. The majority of the changes are likely to require either contractual adjustments or buy-in at the very least from employees in order to be successful.


For more information and thinking around the complexities of the return to work take 20 minutes to listen to our webinar and find out more about:

  • Sharing information
  • Likely responses from employees and how to handle them
  • Requests for flexible working and to carry over holidays
  • The impact on mental health

And lots more useful, practical help

Do you need HR advice?