Four in five business leaders offer return to work programmes

More than four in five (83%) UK business leaders have a return to work programme in place.

  • Business leaders are increasingly looking to support professionals back to the office
  • A third cite adjusted working hours (35%), improved retention (33%) and reintegration of employees (31%) as benefits of return to work programme

London, 17 October – More than four in five (83%) UK business leaders have a return to work programme in place – either formally or informally, according to new research from specialised recruitment consultancy Robert Half UK.Over two in five (43%) business leaders have a tailored programme to help new parents return to work, while 40% have informal schemes in place.

Whether it is due to a career break, temporary retirement or family obligations, businesses are increasingly looking to provide support for people returning to the office after an extended period away. 

As a result, business leaders are beginning to reap the benefits of return to work programmes and the positive effects that tailored support can have on employees readjusting to being back at work.

Over a third (35%) cite the flexibility of working hours for returners as one of the main benefits, while 33% have noticed improved retention rates with working parents. Meanwhile, 32% of UK business leaders believe that return to work schemes are beneficial because they effectively welcome the employee back into the workplace.

Primary benefits of a return to work programme cited by employers %
Working hours can be adjusted as requested 35%
Improved retention with working parents 33%
Effectively welcomes back the returning worker 32%
Supports reintegration of the returning worker 31%

Source: Robert Half Research 2019. Multiple responses permitted.

Separately, one in three (29%) say that return to work schemes maintain organisational knowhow, while 27% believe they provide a plan with tangible deliverables to support the confidence of returning workers.

The most popular initiatives offered by businesses to support returning to work parents include: flexischedule (33%), working from home (31%) and childcare vouchers (31%). 

Matt Weston, Managing Director, Robert Half UK commented: “Formal return to work programmes were first popularised by large multinational corporations such as Deloitte, PwC and Capgemini, but the benefits are being seen by business both large and small.

“As the world of work continues to change, new skills are required and professionals who spend an extended period of time away from the office might feel daunted at the prospect of returning to work. However, businesses who support the reintegration of returners are often tapping into a hidden talent pool who have years of experience behind them and finely tuned skillsets which can prove invaluable to business leaders. Businesses we speak to are seeing the benefits of hiring professionals with the ability and willingness to learn, effective soft skills and cultural fit, while identifying a training plan to upskill on the technical skills.

“Offering schemes which can positively support employees settle back into their working life can help address skills shortages and boost retention rates. Mentorships and training opportunities, as well as regular check-ins, are just some of the ways that employers can support workers returning to the office.”

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Notes to editors
1The study was developed by Robert Half and conducted in January 2019 by an independent research firm among 700 senior decision-makers in businesses in the UK. This survey is part of an international study on hiring trends and career ambitions in the modern workplace.

About Robert Half

Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised recruitment consultancy and member of the S&P 500. We have once again been named to FORTUNE’s “World’s Most Admired Companies®” list and remains the top-ranked staffing firm (February 2020). Founded in 1948, the company has over 300 offices worldwide providing temporary, interim and permanent recruitment solutions for accounting and finance, financial services, technology, legal and administrative professionals. Robert Half offers workplace and jobseeker resources at and