Healthy Working Lives | COVID-19 Information For Employers & Employees
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Flexible Working

The COVID-19 outbreak has changed how most of us live and work. A number of concerns may arise for employers and employees as we start to plan our return to work. Pressures out with work might present new challenges for employees who may now have to manage caring responsibilities, commuting safely and maintaining safe physical distancing. Employers should consult with their employees to explore these concerns further, remembering circumstances will likely differ for each employee.

Flexible working practices will be more important than ever as our workforces return to the working environment. Supporting employee mental health will remain key during this process also. Visit our information pages on mental health for employers and employees.

Returning to the workplace

To help make any return to work process a success, good communication between managers and their staff is key and for managers it make sense to find out ahead of these discussions, what options your workplace currently provides or what additional support they would consider to help individual employees return to work.  Underpinning everything is the need for flexibility at this time.

It is important to talk with employees about the return to work. Discuss plans with employees and explore individual issues and concerns. We have developed a COVID Planning the Return to work Toolkit to help.  Building trust and agreeing workload expectations is important to creating successful working arrangements and understanding what is realistically achievable.

Introducing Flexibility

Flexible working arrangements can help achieve a better work-life balance which can improve employee motivation, performance and productivity, and reduce stress. Your organisation may already have flexible working practices in place which may be utilised as employees begin to return to the workplace.

Planning the return to the workplace is essential taking current Government guidance into consideration. CIPD have outlined advice and guidance around planning the return to the workplace and have developed a Returning to the Workplace Planner

Employers may need to consider running two teams or splitting access to the workplace. Staggering shifts may also support a safe return to the workplace and avoidance of large numbers of employees entering or leaving together.

There are lots of resources available to support employers develop their approaches to flexible working here is a selection that can help:

Flexibility Works support employers to develop more flexible workplaces which offer significant business benefits, attract diverse talent, increase productivity and have happier people. In addition CIPD have practical tips on implementing flexible working in this factsheet

You can find the ACAS Flexible working policy template

Working Families have a number of toolkits, resources and webinars that you might find useful, including free downloads on Managing Remote/Home Workers and Remote/Home Working Health & Safety, which you can access here.


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