New challenge ahead as workers feel anxious about returning to work after coronavirus pandemic

Businesses starting to welcome employees back to work are being met with a new challenge – ‘coronaphobia’.

Thursday, 4th June 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 12:30 pm

Workers who were furloughed in April are being gradually invited back, although some are being asked to work from home. However, many small businesses are reporting major issues in getting staff back to their roles, after three months of being at home.

Employees are claiming stress and anxiety or are simply requesting outright to be furloughed for another three months, a trait dubbed coronaphobia.

Jonathan Ratcliffe, who runs Offices.co.uk, said: “It’s crazy to think that after all this uncertainty and worry and then that happy time arrives when you can invite staff back to work and that they don’t want to actually come back. Those struggling mentally you can well understand and have my sympathy, but we have seen first-hand staff simply asking if they can stay on furlough for a bit longer, it’s crackers, I couldn’t believe my ears.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Furloghed staff are feeling anxious about returning to work

Businesses must tread carefully and understand the employee’s rights. Employers now face the challenge of rebuilding businesses across a wide variety of sectors with a lack of motivated staff due to the long spell of lockdown.

Jonathan said: “I totally sympathise with everyone who has been furloughed, it’s a tough time, but we must realise the scheme cannot go on indefinitely. We want to welcome employees back with socially distanced open arms.”