Returning from furlough

Returning from furlough can be an exciting prospect and opportunity to get back into the workplace, refreshed and raring to go. Having had time to reflect on work and what is important, it is an opportunity to rethink and reshape work to align with your aspirations. A chance to really hit the ground running!

But for some who have been out of the workplace for a while, this can also be an uncertain and daunting experience. Things will have changed, and new ways of working have emerged which you may not have been aware of. Many businesses are still affected by the uncertain economic climate and expectations will be high.

What can you do to help make it an easy transition back into work?

  1. Don’t set unrealistic expectations. There is no need to run a marathon on day 1. No-one expects this nor is it required. Take your time to get back up to speed and set achievable milestones. Be open and talk to you managers about any concerns you may have.
  1. Don’t beat yourself up. It has not been your fault that you have been on furlough. You haven’t lost your skills or knowledge in the past few months. Be positive with a can-do attitude. You can do it! 
  1. Don’t be too judgemental. Things will have changed in your absence – some for the good and some may appear to be a step back. Remember businesses have been operating in challenging and uncertain times and changes will have been made with the best intentions and limited resources. Don’t criticise. Take time to understand the changes, spot improvements and share insight and solutions and work with your colleagues to rebuild a better team. You are in it together. 
  1. Don’t try to make up for lost time. There is no expectation for you to make up for your time on furlough. Don’t look back. Start afresh. 
  1. Don’t revert back to old ways. You will have had time to reflect on your work and what could be improved. I am sure you would have identified some real upsides – more time with family, flexibility, more exercise, home-cooking and the list goes on. This is your chance to make a difference, to be more efficient, motivated and align your work and home life. Agile working is the norm. 
  1. Don’t put the shutters down. If you are not used to remote working it can be very easy to hide behind the screen and get on with it. Now more than ever is it critical to reach out to your colleagues and clients. Talk to people. Understand what they are struggling with, share insight, collaborate and enjoy talking to so many different characters. Communication is key.

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