The U.K. government announced the first significant changes to our lockdown measures at the beginning of May, with the Prime Minister encouraging employees to return to work, where possible.
The Chancellor has since made further announcements detailing the future of the furlough scheme. The scheme will currently continue until October, with no changes at all until July. It is then that the government are expected to drop their 80% contribution of wages to 60% and ask employers to provide 20%.
New guidelines have also now been published by the government to help employers begin to open safely, allowing those who have not been able to work from home to start working and earning at full capacity again.
These announcements represent the most significant change since the start of lockdown, as they allow the economy to start moving again. This is an essential step for all U.K. companies, including finance businesses who can now begin to rebuild.
So, with these two considerable changes – the workers who safely can, to restart the economy now, and looking further to July, a likely return for many other currently furloughed employees, reintegration is needed.
Finance sector managers who now face the task of consolidating teams which have been disrupted face critical challenges – here is what they can begin to do now, and in the coming months to help their team reintegrate successfully.
Opening Your Workplace Again With Social Distancing
The critical message in the changes to workplaces is a focus on social distancing. This term, which has become part of our regular vocabulary, is likely to be a new part of life, possibly for years to come.
The latest guidelines covered in the government guide ‘Staying Alert and Social Distancing’ can be found here. Further, more specific instructions for the government are to be published later this week in their workplace guide entitled ‘COVID-19 secure’.
Unless it is necessary, however, finance employees can continue to work from home. Many employees have risen to the challenge of remote working admirably, as non-furloughed workers have kept many finance businesses ticking over throughout the lockdown.
But for workplaces who aim to open again in the coming weeks, things will look very different. You must arrange offices so that employees can safely sit at least 2m apart, communal areas must be avoided, and hand sanitation and regular disinfecting of surfaces is a must. The government have announced that Environmental Health Officers will be employed to check that all open workplaces are adhering to the new rules.
Maintaining Your Company Culture with Stepped Reintegration
You must maintain a positive company culture while your team reintegrate in stages. Make sure that employees who are kept on furlough understand the reasoning behind the company’s decision.
Ensure your culture remains inclusive, and that you keep all employees in the loop regarding changes, not only employees who are returning. There is the potential for conflict between furloughed and non-furloughed employees, which you must stay aware of.
Have a frank discussion with all your finance employees to find out how each one feels about their current situation. Some might be happier to stay on furlough than others.
The virus has majorly disrupted people’s lives, and as your business begins to open up again, you must maintain a high level of understanding for all of your team.
How to Reintegrate Your Team
If you are bringing employees back from furlough, and you will be returning to work in a socially-distanced setting, there are a few things you need to consider.
- Speak to your team at the earliest opportunity about the practical measures of them returning to work. They may have work equipment (P.C.s, work files, etc.) which they will need to bring back to the office. The return of employees should be staggered to avoid close contact.
- Think about your workplace and how you can arrange it to comply with social distancing. If you plan to move furniture with the help of someone, make sure you can do so safely. Buy hand sanitiser, disinfectant and anything else you need to keep returning colleagues safe.
- If it is only possible for some of your team to return, you must think carefully about who should return now and who can continue remote working. Think about who has found it easier to work from home and whose jobs are more difficult while out of the office.
- Consider the legal implications of your finance team returning to work. How much notice will you give them? You will also need to inform the government about un-furloughed employees.
- Conduct a reintegration meeting for returning employees, and again with those who will be joining at a later date. In this meeting, you can give details of your plan going forward, and you should welcome them to voice any concerns they might have.
Reintegrating your finance team over the coming weeks and months is a new challenge that no leaders have faced before. Communication, transparency and honesty will be critical to the successful reestablishing of your finance team.
If your financial recruiting needs have changed in light of the coronavirus outbreak and you need to have a conversation about your recruitment going forwards, get in touch with us today.
About Rebus Financial Recruitment
Rebus Financial Recruitment provides a specialist and focused recruitment service to its customers, which historically range from a wide variety of organisations including SME’s to large PLCs.
We strive to offer both the client and candidate a seamless recruitment experience. Using our expertise, we get to the heart of employer and employee needs; and, in doing so, we match the two perfectly. To find out more, get in contact with one of our team today, or you can call us on 01282 930930.