Time on Furlough and Returning to Work
Kerseys Staff member reflects on her time on furlough and returning to work
In my opinion the most important thing you need to remember about ‘furlough’ is that it is not a reflection on you.
We are in the middle of a global pandemic and the furlough scheme allows companies to keep themselves above water whilst we still receive 80% pay.
Do not allow yourself to be ‘furlough shamed’.
You do not want to be in this position as much as your employer did not want to put you in it. Martin Lewis told BBC Radio 5 Live his thoughts on Furlough shaming and his podcast can be found at BBC Radio 5 Live link here – it is a good listen if you’re experiencing feelings of ‘guilt’ towards those not furloughed.
Furlough Sounds Great
I think the idea of being on ‘furlough’ sounds great to those not furloughed – but what they do not understand is that actually it’s a lot of time spent with no routine, no structure, worry and stress about whether you will have a job to go back to and working out how to keep yourself mentally (and physically) stimulated. Ultimately it can lead to a dip in your self-esteem and mental health.
For me it was about ensuring
- I got out of the house every day (particularly when it was restricted to 1 hours exercise).
- I made sure I made contact with someone every day, whether that be a family member, a colleague or a friend.
- I had a task to complete each day, e.g. paint the garden fence or clean and just tried to find things to keep myself busy whilst at the same time trying to enjoy this opportunity of taking a break from a challenging fast-paced job role!
Read more here Mental Health Awareness – Relationships Matter
Once you get your head around being at home with no routine you begin to find things to occupy yourself – all those odd jobs that you have put off for months, you suddenly have the time to do, so the challenge begins again when you get the ‘return to work call’ (which I completely appreciate is a million times better than a redundancy call).
Going Back to Work After Being Furloughed
Panic mode sets in.
- Is it safe?
- How much has changed?
- Will I remember the new procedures?
It’s a whole different type of worry compared to the furlough worry, but worry all the same. Some are more comfortable with change than others, so adjusting to go back to work can be another challenge we must face. I was excited to return to ‘normality’ (used loosely) but inevitably it came with mixed feelings.
It is important not to burn yourself out when you return to work. Most people will be accepting of the fact that you need to catch up. It is overwhelming but with the support of colleagues, you will soon find yourself falling back into the same routine and picking up where you left off. If you are struggling, talk to someone – your head of department, HR etc.
They cannot help if they don’t know! Honesty is the best policy!
Communicating with your employer about your needs is vital in ensuring you are the most comfortable you can be when returning to work.
I have found coming out of lockdown harder than going into lockdown – but it is important to remember you are not alone, we are all in this together including colleagues that were not furloughed and communication is key!