Mental Health Training

Return to Work Employer “It’s OK” Pledge, by Jane McNeice

Posted by on 9 Feb, 2021 in Mental Health |

Return to Work Employer “It’s OK” Pledge, by Jane McNeice

When any employee is returning to work after a period of absence, we have things as employers that we may need to do to ease them back into new or changed systems, practices, procedures, and relationships. These help the returner to work to feel included, up-to-date with what is happening, valued, and illustrate that we care about their wellbeing. Coming back to work without any planning can cause lots of unnecessary stress on employees and prevents employers gaining the best from their returning employee. In order to achieve economic recovery, one of the key things we are going to need is employees who are able to contribute effectively to that growth.

Many well-embedded practices have been encouraged within workplaces in recent years, some to the extent that the Government has legislated for them, e.g. keeping in Touch or ‘KIT’ days for those on maternity leave. We encourage phased returns for those who’ve had longer periods of absence to avoid burn-out thresholds which can more easily be exceeded when we’ve been off work for some time. We make reasonable adjustments for those with health-related needs and disabilities. But has Government given due consideration to such practices in their plans for those returning from Furlough or have legislation and rules around Furlough prohibited some best practices?

One aspect of return to work that we do have control over as employers is how we treat the returning employee when they do return to the workplace. Mind Matters encourages you and your organisation to adopt our ‘Furlough RTW “It’s OK” Pledge’ which is aimed at assisting and supporting a sustainable return to work of Furloughed employees once they are back in the workplace. It encourages patience, support, and guidance from the workplace so that we can all prosper from the ‘It’s OK’ support:

Furlough RTW: “It’s OK” Employer Pledge’

Helping those returning from Furlough to feel welcome and supported in their return…

  • It’s ok to ask to be reminded how to use equipment, software, or how to undertake a task I’ve not done for a while
  • It’s ok to take additional time to check-in with colleagues, contacts, networks I’ve not engaged with for a while
  • It’s ok that I may feel tired more quickly than I normally do
  • It’s ok that I’ve experienced my Furlough differently from someone else because there isn’t a right or wrong way to experience it
  • It’s ok to ask about Covid-19 risk assessments and procedures for safety now that I’m not staying at home
  • It’s ok to ask what if anything has changed while I’ve been away and to have an update from my Employer.