Return to work toolkit: support during and post Covid-19
This is the third of our series of resources guides in response to Covid-19 and includes our downloadable return to work toolkit for return to work practitioners in the rehabilitation and occupational health fields during and post-Covid-19.

This guide is no longer being updated.

This is the third of our series of resources guides in response to Covid-19 for return to work practitioners in the rehabilitation and occupational health fields during and post-Covid-19.

We’ll regularly be adding to and updating this resource guide and where appropriate the toolkit as new information and resources become available so please do check back often. Please also let us know if you’ve found or created a good resource and do share this guide with your networks.

Our two earlier collections are Coronavirus resources which covers key information, home working, mental health and wellbeing, organisation resources, policies and templates, condition-specific guidance and free online CPD.


Return to work toolkit 

We’re delighted to be able to share the ‘Return to Work Toolkit’ for return to work practitioners in the rehabilitation and occupational health & fields during and post Covid-19.

We recognise that as return to work practitioners you are well placed to support organisations at this time and the toolkit considers changes that need to be made at both an organisational and individual level. It will be useful to support both people who may be returning to work at this time following illness or as a consequence of the lockdown.  Our thanks to Trustee Joy Reymond of Work and Wellbeing for preparing this.

Download your copy of the toolkit here.


IRCM Guidance

As you may be aware BABICM/CMSUK and VRA are working together to form the Institute of Registered Case Managers(IRCM), to become the regulatory body for all case managers in the near future. We are delighted to share with you the first guideline from IRCM regarding COVID-19. This document will be published on their website once developed, in the meantime we will continue to update you of any ongoing developments.

Download the guideline here.


Government Guidance

Working safely during coronavirus this includes specific guidance for different types of workplaces

Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy

Coronavirus support for victims of domestic violence we’ve including this as we feel it is important it is shared widely.

General guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus including topics such as social distancing in the workplace is here.

Access to Work includes support for those homeworking confirmed here.

Other Resources

Relating to those who have had Covid-19 

These documents are very useful background reading for anyone who may support clients who have had Covid-19 particularly more serious cases.

  • Rehabilitation in the wake of Covid-19 – a phoenix from the ashes from the British Society of Rehabilitation Medicine is here.
  • Meeting the psychological needs of people recovering from severe coronavirus from the British Psychological Society here.
  • Quick guide for occupational therapists: Rehabilitation for people recovering from Covid-19 is here.

Broader return to work support during and after Covid-19

  • Example risk assessment for Covid-19 in workplaces from Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is here and their practical guide to making workplaces safer is here.
  • Covid-19: Back to the workplace – adapting workplaces and protecting workers from the EU is here and guidance for the workplace is here.
  • Coronavirus(Covid-19): advice for employers and employees from ACAS is here.
  • Free online courses and webinar recordings for employers and employees from the British Safety Council including Covid-19: managing the workplace a practical perspective, and more general courses such as managing mental health, stress awareness, managing stress within your team, mental health awareness, remote workers health, safety and welfare here.  You can also find other online courses that may be useful in our free online CPD guide.
  • Reopening the workplace: a preliminary guide for UK employers from Morgan, Lewis, Brockius is here.
  • A free coronavirus policy, risk assessment and other templates from Stallard Kane are here.
  • A free coronavirus (Covid-19) risk assessment from HandsHQ is here.
  • Preparing for a return to work outside the home: a trade union approach from the TUC is here.
  • This article covers some considerations around health and safety in the workplace from Phil James is Professor of Employment Relations at Middlesex University here.
  • Reopening pack from the Charity Retail Association is here, whilst this may seem a surprising recommendation this covers some of the basics applicable to reopening any workplace well and so is worth reviewing for any business.
  • Cloisters toolkit: returning to work in the time of coronavirus is here and is a really useful and very extensive guide to the legal aspects from Cloisters Chambers.
  • Using the IGLOO framework to stay mentally healthy at work during the Covid-19 outbreak from Affinity Health at Work here.
  • Covid-19 practical guidance for the HR professional from IES is here.
  • The return to work and the risk of ‘associative discrimination’ from Personnel Today is here.

From the Health and Wellbeing Return to Work Toolkit

  • Coronavirus – useful links for practitioners and employers – our first resource guide is here.
  • Our standards of practice for vocational rehabilitation practitioners are here.
  • Society of Occupational Medicine returning to work after the Covid-19 lockdown toolkits are here.
  • Covid-19 toolkit for GPs from the BMA is here.
  • Covid-19 risk assessment and guidance from Workfit is here.
  • Coronavirus latest information and advice from the Health and Safety Executive is here.
  • What should occupational health professionals know about mental health and Covid-19 from SOM is here.
  • Coronavirus (Covid-19): returning to the workplace from CIPD is here.
  • Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of Covid-19 from the government is here.
  • Coronavirus and your wellbeing from Mind is here.
  • Turn2us benefit information is here.
  • Ergonomic checks from Workright are here.
  • Wellbeing at work from CIPD is here.
  • Working at home wellbeing survey from IES is here.
  • Case management standards of practice are here.

Resources from our webinar on ‘How is Covid-19 impacting on how you deliver/commission VR’

A brief summary of financial support for businesses and individuals, our thanks to Johnny Timpson for preparing this.

New challenges to delivering VR during the Covid-19 pandemic, our thanks to Sue Godby and Christa Wright for preparing this and for their really helpful guide to workstation set up here.

Supporting People who are Unemployed after COVID19, our thanks to Alyson Hollway for preparing this.

Not from the webinar but very relevant to it is this useful insight from a client about using skype during a rehab programme from Vitality360.

Facts and Figures: What we are worried about and how is the world of work changing?

Below are some facts and figures that may be helpful in understanding the concerns people may currently be experiencing.

In preparing for a return to work outside the home: a trade union approach, TUC research highlighted the following reason for concern:

  • Not being able to socially distance from colleagues once at work – 39%
  • That I may expose others in my household to greater risk – 34%
  • Not being able to socially distance from clients or customers at work – 28%
  • That my employer may ask me to return to work outside my home when I don’t think it is safe – 25%
  • Not applicable – I have no concerns about returning to my place of work – 24%
  • My workplace not being cleaned adequately – 23%
  • Having to travel to work on public transport – 20%
  • I prefer working from home and wish to continue if possible – 20%
  • Not having access to the appropriate personal protective equipment at work – 17%
  • My underlying health conditions that make returning to work more risky for me – 14%
  • Having to travel to other locations once at work (eg to make deliveries) – 7%
  • Other – 3%
  • Don’t know – 2%

Respondents were 791 members of the public who were working from home, employed but not currently working, furloughed or recently unemployed and expect to be back in work soon, what most worried them about returning to work as the social restrictions end.  It was carried out mid-April.


ONS data relating to coronavirus is here. Some key points from this are highlighted below.

For 9-20th April, Among those who said coronavirus was affecting their work, they reported the following about how has their work had been affected in the previous seven days:

  • Increase in hours worked (for example, over-time) – 13.0%
  • Decrease in hours worked (for example, place of work closed or reduced opening times, availability of work) – 16.1%
  • I have been furloughed – 20.0
  • Temporary closure of own business – 9.4
  • Permanent closure of own business – 1.8
  • Redundancy – 0.5
  • Asked to take leave (include paid and unpaid leave) – 4.3
  • Unable to take leave – 2.5
  • Working long hours with no breaks or reduced breaks – 6.1
  • Finding working from home difficult – 17.2
  • I am worried about my health and safety at work – 16.9
  • Asked to work from home – 26.1
  • I will have to work around childcare – 11.9
  • I have to work around other caring responsibilities – 4.3
  • Other – 13.7

For the same period of those who said coronavirus was affecting their wellbeing in said in the past seven days

  • feeling worried about the future – 69.3%
  • feeling stressed or anxious – 65.1%
  • making mental health worse – 21.2%
  • finding working from home difficult – 18.2%
  • strain on work relationships – 8.5%

In the same period of those working 55.8% of disabled people had worked from home because of the coronavirus outbreak versus 49.7% of non-disabled people.

Coronavirus and the economic impacts on the UK (23/4) here, has some useful information about the impact of specific sectors. Some key points from it are:

  • Of the 6,171 businesses responding to the Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS), 24% reported they had temporarily closed or paused trading for the period 23 March to 5 April 2020, 0.3% reported permanently ceasing trading, while 75% were continuing to trade.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of all businesses that were continuing to trade indicated their financial performance was outside of their “normal” range, with 93% of these saying their turnover was lower than “normal”.
  • In terms of the measures taken to manage the workforce as a result of COVID-19, of businesses continuing to trade that had responded so far:
    • 40% said they were reducing staff levels in the short term in the period 23 March to 5 April 2020
    • 29% reported having to decrease working hours
    • 7% reported that they were recruiting staff in the short term

There is also some useful data around furloughing here but it is very early data only covering the period to 5/4.

An overview of self-employment at this present time is here here.


The economic impacts of coronavirus in the UK from the Resolution Foundation is here (30/4).  Key points are that of households who have been affected:

  • 68% reported reduced income
  • 23% are using savings to cover living costs
  • 14% are providing financial support to friends and family
  • 13% are struggling to pay bills (for example food and energy)
  • 10% have had to borrow money or use credit.

It also found that web searches indicate that unemployment is continuing to rise


  • The British Chamber of Commerce is conducting weekly impact trackers. The 29/4 edition suggests that 76% of firms have already furloughed some or all of their staff.
  • Britain Thinks research conducted from 17-19 April has found that 63% of people would be nervous about going out even if lockdown was lifted. You can access the full data tables covering a range of questions here.
  • Covid-19 and the world of work from the ILO is here.


Understanding people’s concerns about the mental health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic from MQ: transforming mental health and the Academy of Medical Sciences is here.  This is particularly useful reading for practitioners working with people mental health issues predating Covid-19. It is based on two surveys, one of the general public and one of people with lived experience of mental health problems and their supporters, healthcare professionals, researchers and the general public with an interest in the topic.

Findings were that key concerns were

  • anxiety
  • isolation
  • becoming mentally unwell
  • access to mental health support and services
  • family and relationships

Things that were helping people’s mental health and wellbeing during the pandemic included:

  • staying connected
  • keeping busy
  • physical activity
  • staying calm
  • managing information intake
  • maintaining routine

It also noted “Both stakeholders and general population respondents described the importance of work in providing a sense of purpose during an otherwise unsettling and uncertain time.”   

One of the respondents also commented, “Work is very important to me, it is where I have most contact with people as my social circle is miniscule and I only have two family members nearby.”

Of the general population respondents, 15% referred to work as a means of supporting their wellbeing.


IES has released interim findings from the first COVID-19 homeworker wellbeing study, looking at how working from home for an extended period is affecting the UK workforce. The report is here, we’ll update with the full findings once released.

  • 71% working at home as a result of COVID-19
  • 75% say their employer has not carried out a health and safety risk assessment of their homeworking arrangements
  • There has been a significant increase in musculoskeletal complaints. More than half of the survey respondents reported new aches and pains, especially in the neck (58 per cent), shoulder (56 per cent) and back (55 per cent), compared to their normal physical condition.
  • Half of all respondents (50 per cent) reported not being happy with their current work-life balance; a third (33 per cent) frequently feel isolated, over a fifth (21 per cent) are worried about job security, while just under half (41 per cent) harbour health concerns for family members.
  • Mental health is poorer for those new to homeworking (compared with those with long experience) and those in less frequent contact with their boss but 71% say their boss is good at staying in touch


Weekly vacancy analysis from IES: Vacancy trends in week-ending 3 May 2020 is here.  It states “as at 15 March 2020, Adzuna was listing 820 thousand UK vacancies, which by 3 May had fallen to 337 thousand. Over the last week vacancies have fallen by 27 thousand, or 7%.”


Covid-19 social study from UCL and Nuffield Foundation is here from 6/5; it focuses on psychological responses to the first six weeks of government measures requiring people to stay at home.

  • Anxiety levels appear to have stabilised, although depression levels are similar to when lockdown started, with both above average levels. Levels remain highest in individuals with existing mental health diagnoses, women, people living with children, and people living in urban areas.
  • Worries about unemployment remain relatively stable, with around 1 in 12 people worried. These levels are similar across most demographics, although higher in those under 60 and those with a mental health diagnosis.