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.