Almost every aspect of life has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic; businesses re-opening and employees returning to work cannot alone erase the additional pressures we have all endured during lockdown.

Many businesses have been forced to close or at least reduce their capacity putting stress on employees’ physical and financial security. With the uncertainty of no clear end date and many other issues, employers need to consider how best to carry out the re-opening process.

The following guidance can be used to help manage the mental health of employees returning to work.

Gradually Re-Opening

Many employees returning to work will require some time to re-adjust to the normal work environment. Those who were furloughed may find it especially difficult, but others who were kept on as remote employees may still find aspects of the return hard.

By re-opening gradually, employees will have an adjustment period to get back to normal. This could include bringing employees back in stages or allowing remote employees to continue to work remotely for a couple of days a week.


COVID-19 has caused many uncertainties for everyone. The biggest uncertainty for employees is their job security. Transparency about the state of the business throughout the returning to work process will help settle these concerns.

This transparency could be employers holding regular meetings/calls discussing company news and the plans for re-opening. Also, it will allow employees to bring up any issues or suggestions they have about the process.

Empathy and Patience

The significant impact of COVID-19 on the economy has made it very easy for businesses to lose sight of how it may have affected individual employees.

During this period, if an employee is not hitting their usual numbers, employers should consider having an open conversation with the employee rather than taking immediate punitive action. There may be unknown issues that could be sorted rather than potentially making them worse with reprimands.

Consideration for Carers

Many employees have been forced into becoming full-time carers over the months of lockdown. Even after businesses start to re-open, many employees will still have these duties with schools, childcare and nursing homes remaining closed.

Employers can help with this by allowing employees to work around their duties. This allows them to continue to carry out their care responsibilities whilst also getting their work done.


Re-opening a business is not an easy process and there is a lot to think about when deciding to do so. But, employers need to ensure their employees’ mental health is a priority to stop further problems occurring.


For more information please contact Bullerwell & Co Ltd today.