Returning to work after furlough

Written by: Ethan Cumming
Published on: 1 Oct 2020

As the furlough scheme's end date quickly approaches, we provide our best advice for having a smooth and successful return to work.

Return to work

According to results from BusinessLive’s recent Great Big Business Survey, more than half of UK businesses have opted in to the government’s furlough scheme since it came into effect in March, with 28.5% reporting they had furloughed over three quarters of their workforce.

The survey revealed that 28% of businesses planned to bring back all furloughed employees before the scheme officially ends at the end of October, while another 16% hoped to bring back at least some of their staff.

With some professionals now furloughed for 6 months or more, returning to work is going to present a unique set of challenges for many members of the Fish4jobs audience when the scheme officially closes at the end of this month. Here’s our advice for having the smoothest and most successful return to work after furlough.


Take it easy

If you’ve not been working or just working part-time recently, it will be a shock to the system to have a full throttle return to work.

Although it’s not always possible to guarantee a relaxed first few days back at work, it is advisable to give yourself time to settle back into your working routine and rhythm if you can. It should only take a couple of days for you to readjust, so try to finish on time and avoid any unnecessary stress in your first week back.


Get your mojo back

That said, your first few days back at work after being on furlough should be spent regaining your confidence and getting back into the swing of things. If delivering an urgent project to a tight deadline is what you need to get your mojo back, then get stuck in.

Just remember that everyone has a different process - your colleagues might regain their confidence by reaching out to potential new clients or making sure their work space is tidy and organised. Before you know it, things will fall back into place for the whole team.


Apply your new learnings

Some people will have been taking part in online courses while on furlough, others will have been indulging their hobbies. Whatever you’ve been up to, it’s likely that you’ve learned something new in the past 6 months that can be applied to your work.

For example, if you’ve taken a course in leadership, consider how you can use your newly developed skills to put yourself in the running for a future promotion, or if you’ve been brushing up on a foreign language you could speak with your employer about any future travel opportunities with work.


Reach out to your network

Whether you’re heading back to the workplace or are going to be based remotely, we recommend getting in touch with the key people in your professional network.

Whether you’re checking in with a loyal client, letting a colleague know that you’re coming back to work or sparking conversation with someone you were supposed to meet at a cancelled professional event, giving your work relationships a little attention can be useful to get in the right frame of mind as you ease yourself into work.


Face the future

A lot has changed this year, both professionally and otherwise, meaning that now is a good time to think about where you’re at in your career and what you might want going forward.

Perhaps you spent some time working from home recently and you don’t really want to give up the increased flexibility. It’s likely that employers will be more open to flexible working arrangements now than they have ever been, so speak with your manager about how you might carry on working in agile or remote ways in the future.

Alternatively, you may have decided that you want a major change of direction in your career. If you’re thinking about applying for new jobs, check out the latest vacancies available on Fish4jobs today.