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Returning to the workplace after the COVID-19 lockdown - toolkits

Returning to the workplace after the COVID-19 lockdown - toolkits

Managing return to work in the new normal with COVID-19 needs social as well as possibly medical action. Work is good for us and we need to get back to good, safe jobs - comfortable when we are well and supportive when we are not. Managers can provide workplace support, with referral to occupational health (OH) professionals when necessary. OH professionals support the well-being of workers, preventing ill-health, providing independent advice to organisations, facilitating steps to reduce sickness absence, and controlling infection risks.

The SOM toolkits puts that into action – the toolkit produced in partnership with Acas, Mind, BITC and CIPD, the guide for health professionals, and the toolkit for sustaining work-relevant mental health can be downloaded below:

Returning to the workplace after the COVID-19 lockdown

COVID-19 Return to work guide - For health professionals advising patients and employers

Sustaining Work-Relevant Mental Health Post COVID-19 Toolkit

Remember, though, that line managers are often the first contact on return to work. Here are simple steps to identify and support those in need of help (and do take a look at a Small and Medium Enterprise focused risk assessment tool here):

1. Early contact that is positive and caring

2. Use conversation starters to establish rapport and discuss problems

3. Identify specific obstacles to return to work e.g. personal, health, workplace

4. Agree a return to work plan to overcome specific obstacles - who needs to do what, when?

5. If obstacles are too complex, refer to occupational health (OH) for help

Conversation starters for line managers or OH include:

  • How has life been?
  • Are you OK about coming back?
  • Do you feel safe coming back?
  • How we can make your job better?
  • Do you know who to talk with if any problems crop up?

If someone has existing common health problems, questions could include: Do you feel up to doing your usual job with your health problem? What parts of your job will you find difficult because of your health problem? What can we change to help overcome the difficulties?

Example of situation and risk judgement taken from 'Returning to the workplace after the COVID-19 lockdown'