Returning to work toolkits for employers and occupational health professionals
Managing the safe return to the workplace of millions of UK workers needs careful planning.
Our toolkits, produced in partnership with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Business in the Community (BITC), and Mind, the mental health charity, will help businesses plan to reopen shuttered workplaces.
There are two toolkits: one for employers and one for occupational health professionals, who are supporting businesses make the workplaces covid-secure. You can download them for free.
Planning workers’ return
Here are five things any business needs to do before employees come back
- Contact workers about coming back to the workplace as far in advance of their expected return as you can
- Be prepared to have more than one conversation with your employee and use every contact to reassure them about the care you’re taking to open up the workplace
- Together with your employee, identify anything that might be an obstacle to their return. Obstacles can be personal, such as difficulty with childcare, practical, such as how they travel to the workplace, and even anxiety about catching covid-19.
- Agree with each member of staff a return to work plan which lists who will do what and when.
- If the obstacles identified are more than managers and HR departments can resolve, call in occupational health (OH) professionals. OH professionals support the well-being of workers, preventing ill-health, providing independent advice to organisations, facilitating steps to reduce sickness absence, and controlling infection risks.
Not sure how to start conversations with your furloughed staff? Here are some conversation starters you can use.
- “How has life been?”
- “Are you OK about coming back?”
- “Do you feel safe coming back?”
- “How we can make your job better?”
- “Do you know who to talk with if any problems crop up?”
If someone has existing common health problems, questions could include
- “Do you feel up to doing your usual job?”
- “What parts of your job do you think you will find difficult and what can we change to help overcome the difficulties?”
Getting the UK back to work
Work is good for us and the country needs to get back to good, safe jobs, in which people are safe and feel supported. Our Returning to the workplace toolkits can help all kinds of business achieve this. Download them for free from the Resources section.
The guideline has now been published on the NICE website
Welcome to the October health and wellbeing newsletter.
To access the document please click here.
Putting ability first – your monthly update from Remploy
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WHU Consultation – Health is everyone’s business, proposals to reduce ill-health related job loss
Council for Work and Health members have actively contributed to the extensive research and debate resulting in this welcomed consultation initiative. It is disappointing that many UK workers, particularly in small businesses, but even in large employers such as the NHS, have inconsistent access to good quality occupational health support when ill. This exercise seeks to test ideas to enable more workers to get support when needed and hence reduce the numbers that face being unable to work due to resolvable issues. Council members will actively respond to this consultation and we urge as many as possible to contribute to this vital debate and support opportunity for change.
Injustices faced by disabled people to be tackled head-on through a new package of measures ordered by the Prime Minister.
As part of her legacy as Prime Minister, Theresa May launched a package of cross departmental measures to “change the landscape for disabled people and to make sure there is always a level playing field for them”. There are a range of proposals intended to “support disabled people in all phases of their life so that the pursuit of equality is a shared goal.” These include higher accessibility standards for new housing, an overhaul of statutory sick pay, and greater workplace support to help ensure disabled people can fully participate in society.
Although the whole package of measures is important for the members of the Council for Work and Health, one of the most direct concerns “New employee rights to request workplace modifications on health grounds”. We expect the detail of this to link to our resources on Workplace Modifications. Dr Steve Boorman, Chair of the Council welcomed the announcement saying “Council Members have actively contributed to the “Improving Lives” agenda across all of its programmes. We look forward to supporting the opportunities, trailed in this announcement, to help support individuals in accessing good work and the health benefits this creates”.
Work Modifications wins an award
The Council for Work and Health is delighted that the Talking Work project has won the Vocational Rehabilitation Association’s (VRA) Innovation, Research and Education Award for 2019. The lead researcher Dr Devdeep Ahuja received the award during the VRA symposium on 1st May 2019 at Birmingham.
In supporting the nomination, Richard Cienciala, Deputy Director, DWP/DHSC Work and Health Unit praised the collaborative approach taken by the Council and commented that the “Talking Work” checklist “should be an invaluable tool to support doctors in their work-related conversations and in advising on reasonable adjustments.”