Remote work became the new normal for many UK workers last year. Home offices, video meetings, and social isolation infiltrated the business industry at an alarming rate. Some employees were furloughed as a result of the pandemic and were not able to work by law. The UK government’s furlough scheme put many employees on temporary leave with 80% of their wages. For the most part, the furlough scheme allowed businesses to stay afloat while the world shut down. However, furlough also had negative implications for those stuck at home with no work to do.
A whopping 8.7 million British workers were furloughed in the last year. Banner printing specialist, instantprint, survey UK office workers to see how they felt about furlough, remote work, and starting a new business in the pandemic. Over half of UK workers said they felt anxious about being furloughed, and a third felt frustrated at their current work situation. For the most part, furloughed individuals feel disengaged from their company and frustrated with their employer’s efforts to communicate with them.
Perhaps the break in communication between employer and employee is down to a miscommunication about the furlough scheme itself. Under the government’s scheme, employees are not allowed to work while on furlough. However, employers are encouraged to communicate with employees to ease their worries about redundancy, financial difficulties, and career progression.
instant print found that nearly half of all UK employees are currently looking for a new job. In a previous study, InstantPrint found that almost 40% of workers are looking to start their own business in the next few years. While furlough provided somewhat of a life raft for Uk business owners, it seems to have unsettled many employees in their current roles. In subsequent years, we will likely see further changes in the business industry and a significant movement in positions and roles.
Employment provides us with a sense of purpose, financial security, and routine. In some cases, our career is our identity and connection to the social world. The pandemic and furlough left any workers isolated and, somewhat lost at home. To ease this discomfort, employers should try to offer support to their employees and communicate openly. Support may come in the form of written advice, practical help, or even just a little pep talk. Employees need to be reassured and given as much information as possible concerning whether they will have a job to return to once the furlough scheme has ended. Of course, the level of communication between employee and employer all depends on the company policy and individual relationships.
Furlough and remote work have been challenging for employees across the UK. If you feel anxious and worried about returning to work, try to share your concerns with your manager and find a solution.
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