Furlough a testing time for UK employees – lack of support leads to less loyalty as many begin returning to work

New research has found that over a quarter (28%) of furloughed employees in the UK admitted to feeling less loyal to their employer upon returning to work.

According to a recent survey of 1,000 people, conducted by Censuswide on behalf of KnowBe4, 70 percent stated they either did not feel supported by their employer, received little to no information or guidance prior to returning to work and/or did not receive regular communications from them.

This news comes after the recent end to the strict Lockdown measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus. Admittedly, furlough, and lockdown, was a testing time for everybody and the uncertainty this brought increased fear amongst the masses especially when many began returning to work.

In fact, a third (33 percent) of respondents experienced feelings of stress and anxiety while only a third (33 percent) admitted to feeling happy and excited about returning to work.

“There is no doubt that there is a myriad of factors that will influence how employees feel when they go back to work. Nevertheless, how employers respond can be instrumental in alleviating feelings of stress and help in cultivating a happier and more loyal workforce,” said Javvad Malik, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4.

The survey also analysed employees by industry and remarkably, 40% of respondents within the Education sector mostly felt stressed/anxious when resuming with work, as opposed to just under a quarter (24%) of respondents in the Travel and Transport industry.

Of those feeling stressed/anxious, over half (57%) did not feel supported by their employer, received little to no information or guidance and/or were not in regular communication with them.

Conversely, nearly half (49%) of those who expressed happiness/excitement claimed to feel supported by their employer. This is closely followed by 43% who received regular communications, and 35% who received ample information and guidance.

Other key findings include:

  • 1 in 16 (6 percent) respondents mostly felt alienated or excluded from work colleagues when they returned to work after furlough.
  • Almost 2 in 5 (38 percent) respondents in the Finance industry sector feel less loyal to their employer after the furlough period, compared to just under a fifth (19 percent) of respondents in the Education industry sector who said the same.
  • A quarter (25 percent) of respondents felt more loyal to their employer after the furlough period.
  • Over 3 in 5 (44 percent) respondents feel the same amount of loyalty to their employer after the furlough period.

The Censuswide study was conducted in November 2020 with 1,000 UK employees who had been put on furlough at some point during the pandemic.

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