Preparing your employees to return to work

It’s great that lockdown is easing and businesses are starting to open up again, but not everyone is excited about this and some people are anxious. This is perfectly natural; we have spent months being told to stay at home and that it was not safe to do certain things. Here, the MIA’s partner Nicky Gleadow at The HR Point shares some guidance on ensuring that your employees are comfortable and confident. 

People may have been off work for months (for those who were shielding, this could be a whole year.) So as you get people back to work, think about how best to manage this.

  1. Return to work training / update

You would not expect someone to come back from long term sick and leap back into work, it is the same for people who have been off on furlough (or working from home). You’ve likely changed things because we are working in the “new normal”, so refresh your employees, cover what has changed and how things work. How many times have you got back from holiday and found the first day a struggle?  It will be the same for your employees.

  1. Covid risk assessment

You will have done this for your business; so share it with your employees – what are you doing, what are their obligations to keep themselves and others safe?

E.g. Do customers have to wear masks, what do they do if a customer refuses?

Make them feel safe at work, get feedback as well as time goes on, what works well, what does not work so well and how can you improve it? What else could you do?

  1. Talk to them

This seems obvious, but as you open up the business again you may get busy, you have months of trade to catch up on.  Remember to talk to people, how are they, how are they feeling – just asking those questions will help.

As employees settle back into working the worries about the return to work will fade, but the first few days and weeks are when your employees need you, and you will win their trust by following these simple steps.

If you would like some tailored advice for your business, MIA members can get in touch with Nicky Gleadow via email at

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