With the Prime Minister telling the nation on 14 June that England is to remain in step 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown the advice is to continue to work from home where possible. As an employer have you begun to think about the return to work process? Did you begin to communicate plans to bring your employees back only to find that there will be a further delay? Feelings will be mixed throughout the nation with some feeling frustration over the delay and some feeling relief over the decision. Either way there is bound to be a sense of uncertainty that will be echoed through many organisations and their workforce.

As we head towards lockdown restrictions easing on the 19th July there is an important part for employers to undertake through reviewing their return to work plans and in ensuring that employee's mental health and wellbeing is protected in these next steps. For some anxiety will be high at the thought of returning to the workplace. As an employer now is a perfect time to take time to consider if a return to 'normal' is what is best for the organisation or whether the positive aspects from lockdown will help the organisation in providing better work-life balance opportunities and to engage with employees in more productive and creative ways of working in the future.

At You HR Consultancy we have been working through with our clients some of the considerations needed for a smooth transition back out of lockdown and that will support employees mental health and wellbeing. We've shared some of these with you here.

Factors to consider when returning to the workplace

Change can bring with it uncertainty and when left can cause anxiety for those who are left without reassurance and clear communication about the next steps and the way ahead.

At You HR we have everything an employer would need to communicate effectively about how the organisation will return safely to the workplace. This includes:

  • Checklists and letters informing employees about the return to work
  • A policy on mask and face coverings
  • A policy on employees taking lateral flow tests
  • Guidance for employers on the return to work process, including presentations to give to employees.

Adopting new ways of working

As well as information to help employers with everything needed to return employees to the workplace safely we have guidance and templates to help those who are considering changing the way the organisation works. The lockdown has shown that different ways of working are possible. Suddenly the possibilities of different ways of working have shown many employers that the traditional workplace-based set-up isn't always necessary. There are many terms for this creative way of working from smart working to agile working but essentially they are all opening up the possibility of a collaborative way of working that is of benefit to both employer and employee.

There will be some who are anxious about the return to the workplace because they are worried about losing the increased flexibility working from home gave them. The ability to reduce the commute time and work around other home life activities such as child care is something that gives employees a greater work life balance and as a result, can increase retention and commitment to the business.

You HR have a wealth of information to help employees with more flexible ways of working including:

  • Checklists for managing homeworking
  • Homeworker agreements
  • An agile working policy
  • Homeworker questionnaire
  • Personal Stress Risk Assessment
  • Flexible working policy
  • E-Learning modules for managers on health and wellbeing, including mental health
  • Business leaders checklist for returning to work

We're here to help you

If you would like help with returning your employees to the workplace, discussing new agile ways of working or support with workplace wellbeing please contact us on alice@youhr.co.uk to make an appointment.

You can find out more about our Workplace Wellbeing service line support here. Holly and Emma Crossley are trained Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA) and can help support your organisation with practical advice and guidance.

The You HR Academy houses a wealth of templates and guidelines to help you in all aspects of your business. You can access it here.

MHFA England have some great resources to help you with supporting Mental Health in the Workplace. Access them here.