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Returning to work: Addressing the disconnect between employers and employees

Posted almost 4 years ago by Rob Markwell
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As teams have shifted to either a furloughed or working from home environment, we recognise it is more difficult than ever to understand how your employees and colleagues may be feeling due to a lack of face to face contact.

Recognising this barrier between employers and employees, we recently conducted a survey into the emotional states of furloughed and working from home employees, which uncovered startling insights into the current job market.

Job certainty

With unemployment increasing and the threat of an economic recession strongly on the cards, it can be expected that employees will hold some anxiety regarding the future of their job.

Of all employees surveyed, an average of 40%-45% believed the future of their jobs is likely to remain uncertain for a while. However, when it comes to taking action on this feeling 60% of furloughed respondents were currently looking for a new job, compared to just 30% of those who have retained a working from home status.

(Employees) How confident do you feel about your job security over the next 6-12 months?

It is clear that furloughing your employees, whilst necessary, is likely to have a stronger impact on their sense of stability than those who haven’t been.

If you plan to retain these members of staff, it is vital you should incorporate some stronger communications which reassure them into your monthly or returning to work plan. A failure to do so could result in a loss of talent.


Whilst communication may be vital to retaining employees, only 11% of employers believe they have maintained regular and effective contact with all members of staff.

Across the board, communication appears to be a minor yet significant issue for employees with between 28%-30% receiving little or no communication from management whilst working or on furlough. Potentially contributing towards perceptions surrounding job security.

(Employees) How much communication have you received from management in the past 2 months?

We know communication can be a difficult thing to get right and it can take some trial and error to find a system which works for everyone. Recognising this, we recently spoke to our business trainer Ruth Farrah about how managers can implement effective communication systems with their teams which address not only performance but ensure a maintenance of workplace culture.

Returning to work

Managers and business leaders are currently going to be planning the next stages for their business. From the logistics of returning employees to work to business development plans.

In doing this it is vital you speak directly with and address employee concerns about the future. Our research shows that what you may find could differ between furloughed and non-furloughed employees.

For those who have been working from home, when provided with multiple options (commute and pay scale changes to name a few) a majority of 42% are concerned about the logistics of social distancing in the office and whether it will be upheld to required standards. Conversely those who have been furloughed are more likely to be concerned about the long-term financial outlook, with 40% concerned for their job safety over the next 6-12 months.

(Employees) What is your biggest concern in returning to the workplace?

In order to create a returning to work plan which works for the majority, addressing these concerns is vital. Though our research points towards some clear indications as to how your teams may be feeling, having a one to one conversation with them is more likely to generate individualistic thoughts unique to your organisation which can be actioned upon over the upcoming weeks and months.

This article provides a snapshot of what we discovered through our employee research. For a more in-depth look into employee sentiments and employer thoughts about the future of employment post Covid-19, you can click to download our full report.

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