Do your furloughed workers want to come back to work and what to do if they don’t!?

So the government have announced softening of the lockdown we are currently in and with this the ability for many to go back to work.

I have had several conversations this week with clients who have been talking to team members who are reticent to come back, worried about their personal safety and those of their loved ones, wanting to remain furloughed for as long as possible.

A new Ipsos MORI poll talks about the comfort of returning to “normality”. In it, it shows that 49% of people are ok about going back to work but a sizable 35% are either in the “not very” or the “not at all” category of wanting to go back to the workplace.

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So what do you do if you are an employer and you have someone who isn’t wanting to return to work because of the coronavirus risk? Government advise and recommendation or not its affecting people in many ways and a lot of those are based in fear. Fear for self, fear for others.

If an employee does not want to go to work

Some people might feel they do not want to go to work if they are afraid of catching coronavirus. This could particularly be the case for those who are at higher risk.

As an employer, you should listen to their concerns and take every step you can to allay those concerns and protect everyone.

For example, you could offer extra parking where possible so that people can avoid using public transport.

If an employee still does not want to come in, they may be able to arrange to take time off as holiday or unpaid leave. The employer DOES NOT have to agree with this.

So you’ve tried everything, you’ve been sympathetic, you’ve put in every reasonable precaution? What’s left to do?

If an employee refuses to attend work without a valid reason, it could result in disciplinary action. This takes you back to normal disciplinary rules which you can find here.

Like it or not a new “norm” has to be found, the economy has to restart, businesses have to find their new way of working as we are in this situation for the long term, it’s not going away anytime soon.

The ACAS website is a good source of information Coronavirus advice for employers and employees

I’d be interested in knowing your thoughts on this? Large or small you will be affected to some degree. What will your new “norm” look like?

I run a recruitment and a wellbeing company and so can see this predicament from both sides of the coin. The need for productivity after this period of unrest is key but you risk employee engagement being down. These two factors don’t marry well.

Large companies will be better equipt and have more cash flow to allow employees more flexibility, small companies, of which we are one will struggle. As usual, is a heavyweight business owners bear.

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