Furlough’s Final Curtain – May ’21

Furlough’s Final Curtain – May ’21

May 13, 2021

2021 continues to roll on at what feels like a record pace…


Now firmly into Spring, that miserable Winter seems a distant memory, and Summer is just around the corner.

Restrictions are lifting, businesses are reopening, and plans are being made. Suddenly the horizon doesn’t look quite so bleak, and our social calendars quite so empty.

Whether you’re scheduling your next exotic getaway, a celebratory BBQ, or simply a pub-date for a G&T without freezing to death, there is much to prepare for!

With this new found freedom, you wouldn’t be blamed for overlooking one of the less exciting changes ahead. A not so insignificant one at that…


Of course, you’ve heard this all before. This time, they really mean it.


What does this mean for you and your business?


Cast your mind back to February 2020. A time when the terms lockdown, R-number, and social-distance were not in our vocabulary. What did your business look like? How does it compare to what’s standing today?

Many businesses have changed drastically since the start of the pandemic. Some of those changes have been forced, but how many of them have provided a better way of working?

In a recent study, almost all 50 of the UK’s biggest employers do not plan to bring staff back to the office full-time. Which begs the question, will a return to ‘normal’ ever come?


Are these new practices here to stay?


Will flexible and home working continue at the current rate? If so, your previous business structure may no longer be relevant.

Whether your staff were furloughed because of a change in business practice, change in workloads, or reduction in cash flow, you’ll need to start looking at how they fit back into your structure and, of course, if they do at all.

For those that do, you must prepare training and inductions. This will ensure they’re brought back up to speed as quickly as possible, allowing them to slot back in with ease.


Naturally, there will be an adjustment period.


This is unavoidable with employees returning to work at different times and under new conditions. This must be managed closely to minimise disruption and maximise efficiency.

There will be anxieties held by both your returning employees and by new team members onboarded during the pandemic. Both will need to be fully integrated back into your team.

Organising 1-1s with your team members, in addition to team meetings, is a very effective way to understand individual and group feelings. You’ll be clued up on the best ways to support your employees during this tricky period.

Remind employees of their roles and update them on any training that may need to be undertaken. This will ensure they continue working to the same, pre-furlough levels.


There might be a trickier conversation to have…


For workers that no longer fit within your redesigned business structure, you’ll need to prepare for restructuring or redundancies.

In either case, planning is key.

This is especially true if you’re looking at larger scale redundancies which require collective consultation. Give yourself as much time as possible to mull these difficult decisions over to make sure the best outcome is found for both business and employee.

Complying with the processes relating to these decisions is absolutely essential to avoid any claims against you and your business, now, and in the future.


At the heart of this is communication.


If you communicate clearly, while providing the opportunity and platform for your employees to do the same, you’ll create a strategy that satisfies both parties.

We understand this is a bit of a daunting task, so if you need any help with difficult decision making, get in touch at kate@runninghrltd.co.uk.