Business Bites: Reintegration of your teams and well-being

Nick Walsh FBDO
ABDO sector skills development officer

Continued transformation in business is a given as people adapt to a new way of working. It is worth remembering though that these new ways of working may be more difficult for those workers who have been furloughed for two to three months, versus those who have worked through the changes. How do leaders and teams support these people more?

Some will be anxious or fearful about returning to the workplace. Some may be excited by the new ways of working and getting back to be with their colleagues. If staff are anxious or fearful, don’t assume that you understand the reasons why. People will want to be listened to and see that you understand the drivers for their anxiety.

Show that you are taking these seriously and talk about how fears can be addressed. They may be driven by the need to care for others outside work, and this may lead to conversations about flexible working, looking after their own wellbeing and building new routines.

It is possible that bridges may need to be built between staff who have been furloughed and those that have worked through the crisis. It should be made clear that it was no-one’s personal choice to work or to be furloughed; it was driven by a business need.

All members of the team, whatever their situation, have been supporting different strands of the business need and without doubt; it hasn’t been easy for anyone. Celebrate everyone’s contribution to the business during these challenging times, including those who were furloughed.


It may seem odd to think about an induction process for existing team members, but you should think about the current situation in the same terms as you would say if you moved premises or launched a new initiative. It is key that all of the team are briefed, heard and understand how they fit in. It also gives a great way to reintegrate those who have been away from the business.

Remember, people like certainty. They are looking for clarity, openness, trust and honesty.

Things that will be useful in the re-induction process include:
• What’s been happening and why
• Articulate what happens next:
o Vision/plan for the coming weeks
o What will change and what will stay the same
o How it may affect them
• How safety has been ensured both for them and patients
• What are the priorities
• Acknowledge that things will continue to emerge and change – flexibility is key

In all of the above, give detail, show willingness to listen and take questions. Don’t underestimate your team – they will often have the answers.

Staff well-being plan

If you don’t already have a plan for well-being, or even if you do, take time to revisit this now.

The one-page Workplace Wellbeing Toolkit from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England outlines the journey employers should take to create a healthy workplace. Throughout these three steps, you should be continuously measuring impact to ensure you’re going in the right direction.

The three steps are as follows:
1. Sensitise. Lay the groundwork: introduce the idea of talking about mental health
2. Skills. Embed practical skills: through quality training, empower employees to support each other
3. Sustainability. Maintain momentum: keep disseminating skills and awareness

Each step gives you a list of concrete and practical actions you can take to achieve the outcomes. The toolkit is easy to follow and is full of useful links to aid your progress.

Other useful links:

MHFA England: Workplace
MHFA England: My Whole Self