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Tips for returning to work after furlough

Written by: Ethan Cumming
Published on: 9 Jul 2020

With businesses beginning to reopen and finance professionals preparing to head back to their jobs, we offer some advice and tips for having a successful return to work after furlough.

Returning to work after furlough

The recent Great Big Business Survey carried out by BusinessLive found that over half of the polled businesses had furloughed at least some of their employees since the scheme came into effect in March this year. A significant finding was that 28.5% of surveyed businesses had furloughed over 75% of their staff.

However, as lockdown eases and normality begins to return at home and at work, over a quarter (28%) of businesses report intentions to bring back all furloughed staff before the scheme officially ends on October 31st, while a further 16% hope to bring back at least some of their workforce in that time.

With some finance and accountancy professionals now furloughed for 3 months or more, the impending return to work has the potential to present a unique set of challenges for many members of our audience. In this article, we offer advice on how to have a smooth and successful return to work after furlough.

We recommend that you:

  • Ease yourself back in to the routine of working life
  • Seek out opportunities to regain your confidence
  • Apply any new learnings from furlough to your role
  • Reopen lines of communication with your professional network
  • Take some time to think about the future and your career

Ease yourself back into work

Upon your return to work it’s important to go easy on yourself and give yourself a day or two to settle back into the routine of working life. Working in finance and accountancy, you already know about the stress, high pressure and long working hours that can come with the territory, so while it’s not necessarily possible to guarantee yourself a relaxed first few days back at work, if you can clock off on time and avoid any unnecessary stressful situations then do so.


Regain your confidence

In your first few days back at work after furlough you should seek out opportunities to regain your confidence and get back into the swing of things. So, although we recommend taking it easy for a day or two, if being successful in a stressful situation is what it takes to get you into the rhythm of things, then get stuck in.

You might gain your confidence from helping colleagues, reaching out to potential clients or making sure your work station is in order. Just remember that everyone will have a different process but soon enough things will start to slot back into place for the whole team.


Apply new learnings

Whether you’ve been completing professional development courses online, spending time on your hobbies, or a mixture of the two while on furlough, there’s a good chance that you will have learned or discovered something new over the past few weeks.

Before your return to work, consider how your new skills or knowledge can be applied to your current role. For example, if you’ve taken a course in leadership, consider how you are going to make sure that your career benefits from these new skills. Alternatively, if you’ve been learning a foreign language, talk to your employer about any potential travel opportunities with work.


Communicate with your network

Whether you’re heading back to the office or set to work from home for the foreseeable future, it’s a good idea to reach out to some of the key figures and important contacts in your professional network.

Whether you’re asking your colleagues how they are doing, letting a long-term client know that you’re coming back to work or reaching out to someone you were supposed to meet at a recent industry event, giving your professional network a bit of attention can be a confidence boosting way to ease yourself back into the professional world. Everyone will be in the same boat so a simple “Hello, how are you?” can go a very long way.


Think about the future

The last few months have seen a lot of change, both professionally and otherwise, making now an excellent time to think about your future and what you want to get out of your career.

For example, you may have spent time over the last few months working from home and now don’t want to give up the greater levels of flexibility and balance that come with being remote. The likelihood is that employers will be more open to agile or remote working arrangements now than they were at the beginning of the year, so chat with your manager about how you might carry on working in flexible ways in the future.

Do you have any other tips for returning to work after furlough? Drop us a comment on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter to let us know.

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