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How to Begin Bringing Back Your Furloughed Employees

With state stay-at-home orders expiring after the Coronavirus pandemic, you’re probably in the process of reopening your business. However, reinstating your workforce won’t necessarily be a straightforward process. Use these tips to successfully begin bringing back your furloughed employees. 

Create the Safest Workplace Possible

Understandably, some of your employees may be afraid to return to work. And certainly, you don’t want people to get sick on your watch. Therefore, consider what you can do to keep both your staff and your customers safe. This could involve installing safety shields to protect cashiers, conducting temperature screenings on anyone who enters the building, or providing your staff with the appropriate personal protective equipment.  

Establish a Reinstatement Process

Unfortunately, most businesses won’t be able to return to 100% immediately. As a result, you’ll need to figure out the best method to reintroduce your staff slowly. Will you call select individuals back full-time while others remained furloughed? Or will you bring in larger groups at reduced hours? Designing a system, and then thoroughly communicating this plan to your furloughed workers, can reduce uncertainty as well as frustration.    

Clarify Changes in Employment Contracts

Most likely, your organization has experienced some tough times. So that promotion, raise, or benefits program you promised back in January may no longer apply. Although these are tough conversations, your best bet is to be upfront with your staff. (You’re going to have to break the bad news eventually anyway.) Drawing up and asking individuals to sign revised contracts is a smart way to document changes and avoid misunderstandingsAlso, keep in mind, if you laid off workers instead of furloughing them, state and local laws usually require you to treat them as new hires and automatically issue new contracts. 

Address Vacation/PTO Policies

Many workers used up their vacation time and paid time off in the early days of lockdown. Now, your company needs to figure out how to deal with this issue. Can you afford to give back this time? What about those who didn’t use it? Once again, creating, communicating, and documenting a policy before employees return to work can prevent confusion and anger.   

Recognize the Negative Impact of Furloughs

Even though we’d all like to put COVID-19 behind us, the reality isn’t so simple. Furloughed employees weren’t enjoying their time off; they were stressed and upset. So, they’re not going to return to their jobs well-rested. In fact, a 2013 study of state workers in the Midwest found furloughs led to emotional exhaustion and lower performance well after they restarted their jobs.” (The Washington Post, 2019). Acknowledging this strain can put you in a better position to help people readjust and to continue to increase employee engagement 

Are You Looking for Reliable Employees Who Can Help Your Company Recover from Recent Shutdowns?

Whether you need a contract or full-time workers, Halpin Staffing Services can assist you with your business challenges. Our recruiters provide a wide range of staffing solutions to organizations throughout Southeastern, Wisconsin and Northeastern, Illinois. Learn more about the advantages of partnering with Halpin today!  

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