The Acas Podcast


Managing the transition from furlough

With the furlough scheme beginning to end, Acas adviser Sue Raftery shares her insights into the main challenges for workplaces and how to navigate them. We look at ideas for minimising the practical and emotional impact of transition from furlough, plus the critical conversations employers, managers and staff need to be having.


Episode resources:

Acas advice on furlough:

Acas webinar on flexible furlough (free):


Robbie Hurley 0:00  

Hello and welcome to The Acas Podcast. I'm Robbie Hurley, part of the communications team here at Acas. In this episode we'll be focusing on furlough and returning to work. Today I'm very lucky to be joined by Susan Raftery, one of the senior advisors who has been particularly involved in aiding the Acas response to the Coronavirus emergency. Hi, Susan. Thanks very much for coming on. So we know that you've been speaking to many employers recently about these issues. Could you give us a quick overview of what you've been hearing?

Susan Raftery 0:26  

Yeah, I think employers have got quite a difficult time at the moment. It was almost easier in sometimes some ways whilst we were all completely locked down, because they didn't really have any choice. But the managing the return to work is is difficult. It's difficult for employers, it's difficult for employees and it's trying to reach that balance of helping everyone to get back to work in a safer way. It's possible. I think probably the biggest issue that I have been hearing from employers is around getting people back in safely and also for those employees who may be can't get back into work at the moment, particularly around things like shielding and childcare. I've spoken to actually a couple of employers this morning who were saying that they've got employees who are saying, "We can't come back to work because we have no childcare." That is a big concern for employers and understand to be for employees as well.

Robbie Hurley 1:30  

Absolutely, I mean, more than 9 million people in the UK were on furlough at the peak of it, and obviously a lot of people are starting to return to work. What do you think, are the are the challenges and what are the conversations that should be being had between the employers and the employees?

Susan Raftery 1:46  

Yeah, you're absolutely right. And it's one of those unusual things where every employee has a different set of circumstances. So the employer is having to be extremely flexible in each in each different set of circumstances. I think the most important thing is not making assumptions, whether you're an employer or an employee. So there's a risk that employers will assume that, for example, right, furlough is coming to an end employee can come back to work full time. And of course, that's not always the case. As we've said, if they're carrying responsibilities, they may still have health issues. Similarly, employees, I think, are assuming I can go straight back into work into my old job in exactly the same way. And again, that's not always going to be the case. So it's it's trying to find that balance. There will be some employers that want employees to come back, for example, part time or doing the flexible furloughs, so maybe doing a few hours a week and being furloughed for the rest, some employees who will want to carry on working from home. They've been doing it successfully in their mind for the last three months and "Don't see why I can't continue to do that." And there will be so employees who are actually too scared to go back to work because they're concerned about things like having to travel on public transport. And I think it's remembering that the message is still, if employees can work from home, then they should still be working from home. But obviously, that's not always appropriate or practical for the employers to be able to allow them to do that. There's a myth amongst employees, some employees that they can ask for flexible working, working from home changing their hours, and they have to be given it. That's not the case. It's a right to request it. It's not a right to be given it. The biggest piece of advice we're giving to everybody is talk to each other. Employees, ask your employer, employer speak to employees and not making assumptions.

Robbie Hurley 3:50  

We touched on a really, really interesting point about people sort of anxiety about returning to work, and I'm just wondering what you've found and what you'd recommend. To make that transition back to work comfortable for employees,

Susan Raftery 4:04  

I've actually spoken to some occupational health experts who've said that they are seeing what they're calling COVID anxiety. And it's not anxiety about COVID itself, but rather about the return. And it's a question of communicating, the employer has to do a risk assessment of to make sure that their workplace is as COVID safe as it can be. And the government's advice is that if you have more than 50 employees, you should be publishing that risk assessment onto your website. But actually, we'd be saying less than 50 employees publish it. In any event, employers should be sharing that risk assessment with the employee and explaining it and whether it's small things like more hand sanitizers around, whether it's large things like having automatic doors, for example, but sharing that information with employees and again speaking to employees and asking them what they think. Because the employees are the ones who know where, for example, the bottlenecks will be of people coming in and out of the workplace. So it's it's talking to the employees and reassuring them and making sure the employee understands actually their input is incredibly important. But you're right, the psychological anxiety is huge if people haven't been in the workplace for three months, and "I've only been working on the other side of the screen," how do they know what it's going to look like? I've spoken to some employers who've said they've actually been doing like a mini video, if that makes sense that they've sent out to their employees. So a tour of the workplace, saying you know, these are how the doors are gonna open. This is how we're going to reconfigure the the desks for example, and and almost doing in a mini induction for employees. So if it was a new starter, what would you be doing, and doing that for employees? I know other employers that have been buddying people up. So if we've got people who've been in the workplace throughout, then they are then speaking to colleagues who are coming back in, who've been on either furlough or working from home. Because of course, we're sometimes more reassured by our workmates than we are necessarily by our managers. So it's it's thinking about all of those things to say to help them to understand look, we have your safety is of paramount importance to us, and this is what we've done to help you.

Robbie Hurley 6:42  

And typically, on that point, how do you think that employers and line managers are going to cope with such a unique situation? There's so many furloughed workers who are going to be coming back, some to the same organisation sometimes at different times, and sometimes into different teams. Have you seen any examples of how they're already dealing with this?

Susan Raftery 7:01  

I think it is something that employers really do need to think about. I certainly spoke to an employer who said, they'd got a situation, which I don't think is unusual, where they had a group of people in work who've worked throughout. They've brought some people back from furlough already. And they've got other people who are going to be coming back at a later stage. And it's always the grass is always greener. So the non furloughed employees assume the furloughed employees have been sitting at home and getting the town. The furloughed employees are possibly on less pay, because they may only be an 80% of their pay and have been out of the workforce for maybe three months and are worried that they're not going to understand the new the new routines, the new rules, the new procedures. So for employers, it's thinking about how they do that do they have a gradual return to work? I know some employers who were putting their employees into teams. So Team A would come in for a few weeks, and then Team B would come in for a few weeks. It's having that conversation with them, making sure that there isn't conflict because there is potential for conflict. As I say, each side has their own concerns. And it's thinking, well, how can we move this forward? What conversations can we have with them? And as I say, a lot of it has been around things like reinterpreting the employees. And also thinking about things like well, what would we do if the employee had been off sick for three months, six months, for example, a lot of organisations have policies around return to work for people who've been ill, or for example, people who are on maternity leave, well, can we use some of those policies and procedures and help line managers to follow those sorts of procedures to get people back into the workplace. I do know some people who've done the equivalent of keeping in touch days for furloughed workers in the same way they do for people on maternity leave. So it's just being a bit more imaginative and maybe using the policies you've already got. And looking at those and saying, "Well, we've managed this before, how can we do this going forward?" 

Robbie Hurley 9:24  

So we've heard that there are a lot of people who have gone off on furlough, and possibly weren't quite sure about the circumstances on which they've gone on to furlough, and then henceforth aren't quite sure about how they're going to come back to work. How do you think that they should be communicating with their employers? And what do you think employers can do to help sort of manage this engagement and trust as they return to work? 

Susan Raftery 9:50  

It is something that we have heard about and I can see how it can have risen because of course employers think was so relieved when the furlough scheme came in And to be fair, we're having to make very quick decisions. So we're sending people home on furlough, perhaps without explaining that actually, they were doing this to try and protect people's jobs, and that people were valued. And that's why they were putting them on furlough. Now, that message may have been lost for some employees. And if there hasn't been good communication during furlough, which again, some employers have had haven't had too many other things to do. So it's really a question of trying to get the message across to employees when they come back to reassure them that they are valued. And if for example, you are bringing people back maybe part time, or keeping some people on furlough and bringing some people back earlier. Then again, explaining why so, "Why have I still got to stay at home for the next six weeks, whereas the person I work next to is being brought back in?" So if there are reasons for It then explaining it. What I've seen some employers do is almost using the equivalent of a selection criteria a little bit like redundancy, but this isn't redundancy. So saying, "At the moment we've brought these people back because they've got these skills, however, we will need you to come back because you've got these other skills." So it's the reassurance and just being really honest and explaining why so even if the employer forgot to tell the employee why they're being furloughed, or didn't get that message across, holding their hands up and saying, "I didn't explain this very clearly, but you are a really valued member of the team. And this is what we're going to do going forward and sharing the plans going forward."

Robbie Hurley 11:44  

And then with line managers, obviously lots of them will have been furloughed will be coming back as some part time and full time and their staff will be doing the same with the teams that they manage. Do you have any specific advice for them and how they can cope as they come back into the workplace?

Susan Raftery 12:01  

Yes, it can be very difficult for managers, we do a lot of training for line managers. And I always say to them that I think in some ways, it's the hardest job, they've got to put into place the instructions from their senior management. But they've also got to keep their teams, productive, engaged, as well. And again, using those skills that they probably already have, talking to people, understanding what's happening, and actually really looking at their policies and procedures, because quite often we find that line managers, they are so busy, quite rightly doing the day to day work, that of course they're not necessarily that familiar with some of their policies around parental leave maternity leave until it happens. But actually looking at what the processes are and saying, "Oh, actually, I could use that I could adapt that", talking to their colleagues if there are other line managers, some of them We'll have had different experiences and may be able to come up with different ways of doing things. And again, being prepared to flag up your concerns to senior managers think sometimes line managers are worried that they have to make decisions on their own, because they need to be seen to be reacting. But actually having that taking a step back, talking to senior management, talking to HR, and if there are trade unions in the workplace, speaking to the trade union representatives, because this is a situation everybody wants the same thing they want the business to do well, they all want to get back into work and for the business to be productive. So having those conversations.

Robbie Hurley 13:44  

And now, of course, line managers - you tend to sort of talk about them in bigger organisations, but there's also lots of small to medium businesses that are now opening up and returning to work. We're looking at things like pubs and hairdressers, these kind of things, where pressures are possibly slightly different on staff and on employers, because they've naturally got a smaller team and maybe don't have things like line managers and HRs. Do you have any advice specifically on how maybe smaller businesses might be dealing with their staff coming back from furlough?

Susan Raftery 14:16  

I think there are, I think it's in some ways that there is going to be slightly easier now we've got the flexible furlough scheme, because of course, one of the difficulties was that previously furloughed workers could do no work. And there were small businesses who needed their staff in for short periods of time, but couldn't have come in and I absolutely understand why the rules were put in the way they will put. But I think now it is a good opportunity for smaller businesses to say, "Well, actually, we can't take you off furlough completely. But if we could have you back in for a few hours a week to help us get the business up and running." You mentioned bars I've certainly seen it with things like breweries - makes me sound like I'm slightly drink obsessed - but things like hairdressers, as you've said, places where we maybe don't need you back in full time. But we need you back in to help out so that we can start to build the business back up and get some income, whilst we still have the benefits of the furlough scheme being much more flexible. So I think for smaller employers, that is going to be really helpful to them.

Robbie Hurley 15:30  

Thank you so much, Susan. It was really enlightening. And I think it's really going to help a lot of people who've been on furlough, or who are going back to work and helping employers who are bringing their furloughed employees back in so thank you very much.

Susan Raftery 15:43  

Okay. You're welcome. Thank you.

Robbie Hurley 15:45  

Thanks very much for listening to today's Acas Podcast. You can find more useful links in today's session notes and on and if you enjoyed today's episode and would like to listen to more, please like and subscribe.

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Thinking differently about neurodiversity

Whether or not you’re up to date with the language aroundneurodiversity, ADHD, autism, dyslexia and other terminology, most workplaces include people who think differently, and who might be part of a neurominority. To help us demystify neurodiversity and get proactive, we’re joined by Dr Nancy Doyle, CEO and founder of Genius Within, Adrian Ward, Head of Disability Partnerships at the Business Disability Forum and Erin Fulton-McAlister, Acas workplace adviser. We look at:What neurodiversity isWhy we need to pay attention to itCreating a workplace that celebrates and capitalises on neurodiversityEpisode resourcesAcas neurodiversity guidanceBDF & Genius Within Commissioning framework and how to commission guideContact an Acas adviserfor a free advisory conversation Related Acas podcast - disabilityOrganisations:AcasBusiness Disability ForumGenius WithinTranscript SarahGuthrieWelcome to the Acas Podcast. I'm Sarah Guthrie and today we're focusing on neurodiversity. What is it, why it matters in the workplace, and how workplaces can support neurodiversity in meaningful and practical ways. I'm joined by Dr. Nancy Doyle, Chief Exec and founder of Genius Within, which provides evidence-based neurodiversity inclusion, Adrian Ward, head of disability partnerships at the Business Disability Forum, which brings together business government and disabled people to create a disability smart world and Erin Fulton-McAlister, workplace advisor at Acas. Thanks for joining me today.Adrian Ward, Erin Fulton-McAlister and Dr NancyDoyleNo problem.SarahSo there's lots of different language around neurodiversity and the language shifts a lot, which we've all discussed actually in the past. And I, I wondered if we could start with that in mind. Very simply, what is it that we're talking about when we use words like neurodiversity? Nancy, do you want to kick us off?NancyI do. Yeah. Thank you. So I think, broadly speaking, the word neurodiversity relates to the idea that we are all diverse, that there is cognitive diversity in the strengths and weaknesses of the human species. Some of us are good at most things. Some of us are good at specialist things to the exclusion of other things. And we have this kind of range of what's possible in our human thinking and skill and ability profile. And sometimes the word neurodiversity gets used as a proxy for a handful of conditions that are often known by other titles as well, such as neurodevelopmental disorders, hidden disabilities, specific learning disabilities. My working title for those at the moment is neurominorities, because they are less likely than being a neurotypical. So if you are a neurotypical, it means that broadly speaking, you're competent in all areas of thinking, you know, you're kind of average in all areas of thinking, or maybe you're above average. If you are in a neurominority, it means you have some specialist thinking skills and some specific difficulties. And that includes ADHD, autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia. And those are the main inclusions. We sometimes also include tic disorders such as Tourette's, we sometimes also include mental health and chronic neurological conditions. Because like the others, what happens when you have those conditions, is you end up with a big difference between your skills and your weaknesses. So because of the weaknesses, neurominorities are typically covered by Equality Act protection and disability legislation worldwide. But it's important to remember that those conditions come with strengths as well.SarahThanks, Nancy. That's a really kind of holistic introduction. What struck me when you were talking is that this is an umbrella term, it is in itself diverse. And I wondered, how does that diversity of the difference between ADHD and dyslexia affect how people identify with and see this as something that they need to think about?NancySo concepts like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia are very much diagnoses of exclusion. They're things that we decide people have when we've exhausted all possible other explanations for difficulties in scale or behavior. And actually, the science of those categories is moving on incredibly quickly at the moment. And there are some evidence from neuroimaging studies, that actually that the kind of brain differences are not that great, and that those conditions have more in common than they do have separate and actually what we currently call a diagnosis of dyspraxia or dyslexia might really be a symptom cluster. And, and from my own professional practice working with thousands of neurominorities over the last few decades, I would say that people come to the workplace with very similar problems. So 92% of my clients, no matter which label or brand they are associated with, 92% of them struggle with memory and concentration. 82% struggle with organisation, 78% with time and 67% with communication skills, and I've run this study over thousands of thousands of participants, and it's always about those numbers. So I think from a business perspective, what's more useful, rather than trying to think, "Autistic people will need this" or "Dyslexic people will need that" or, you know, or even to think that an autistic person doesn't have dyslexic symptoms or that an ADHD person isn't also slightly dyspraxic. So instead of getting hung up over labels, what's more important is just to say, "How can I support you to work at your best? What are the things that you're doing really well? What are the things that you're struggling with? What kind of reasonable adjustments what we might be put in, to scaffold you and augment you and to enable you to really thrive in the workplace?" And we can ask that question without detailed descriptions of conditions, and what may or may not be happening in the brain.AdrianYeah, I mean, just to jump on the back of what Nancy said there in complete agreement. And it's a lot of the work we do, with the organisations that we work with, is actually trying to change that culture of either trying to get a diagnosis or trying to pigeonhole or label people into either particular roles or particular solutions for those individuals. And, and actually encouraging them to think more about barriers that they might be encountering, how to remove those barriers, the support that an individual might require, etc etc. So really flipping the thought process from not trying to label and pigeonhole to actually just ask what does an individual need to be able to flourish in the role that they're in?ErinYeah, I completely agree. And I think that, from an Acas point of view, a lot of what we're going to be talking about is really just good management. And it's about supporting people as individuals, rather than because they have a label.NancyAnd there is a tricky balance in this because, you know, when we go a little bit wide of "This affects everybody, everybody is neuro diverse neuro diversity of everybody. It's about asking all individuals and good management," which I 100% endorse. And I think people could get very tied up worrying about whether they're doing the right thing or not. And actually, if they were just doing good management, it would probably be okay. But what we do have to remember with neurodiversity and neurominorities, is that a lot of the time, these are disabling conditions. And somebody said to me, once, "Well, we all have difficulty concentrating sometimes." And I said, "What you've just said, to me, as a woman with ADHD, is the equivalent of me saying to you, as a woman using a wheelchair, we all have trouble walking sometimes." There are statistically significant differences in people's skill levels. That means the things that we do as managers - our legal obligations - they're not nice to have, they are good management, but they are also legal obligations. And when we don't do them, we are not creating the level playing field that we want to create for all our employees. So they're not preferences, their requirements. And the kind of things that I would draw attention to are things like, you know, allowing people to not abide by a hot desking policy, if you are very easily distracted, or you know, have that kind of high sensory awareness that comes with autism, you might find there's a certain point in the office where it's quiet enough for you to focus and concentrate. And you might simply be unable to do that, unless you're at that point in the office. So an organization might allow you to choose your desks, they might allow you to work from home more frequently, they might allow you to book out a meeting room, if you had to do a report that you were really concentrating on or wear earphones to cut out background noise. So there's, there's lots of things people can do. And they might look like preferences. But it's the difference between functioning and not functioning, as opposed to being a little bit annoyed and being a little bit, you know, okay.SarahSo there's a very clear difference in severity, almost?NancyYeah, yeah. Yeah, people aren't choosing to stop concentrating, people aren't choosingto take longer over typo checking and writing and reading through edits, they're not doing that deliberately. It's not because they're...they haven't got a moral character deficit, it's not that they need to try harder or shape up or put a bit more effort in, it's that the parts of the brain do those particular functions aren't as well connected or don't work as well, or are too busy processing a whole load of other information that's coming in from the rest of the environment. So it's really important that people know that there are observable, measurable, definite brain differences. That means certain jobs are easy, and certain jobs are hard. And when we assign words like "prefer" or "try" or you know, "work a bit harder" around the things that people are deficient in, you know, it's like telling somebody who's deaf to listen harder.SarahAnd this might be quite an obvious question, because I feel like you're all bringing up elements of it anyway. But I wondered, Adrian, when you're talking to businesses about this topic, what do you say when they ask you, "Well, why do we need to focus on this?"AdrianYeah, and it does definitely come up as a as a question. It's difficult. In this world, when you work in this world, it becomes very glib just to come back with a, "Well, why wouldn't you?" kind of respond to that. I know that's not necessarily always helpful to get the right engagement. But one of the things I always say to an organization, you know, if you're truly committed to inclusion, you should be looking at how you attract, recruit, retain, and develop neurodiverse talent within your organization. So my biggest sort of push back and biggest sort of line I'll take with an organization is about tapping into the widest pool of talent you possibly can do. And if people need more information around that, and you know, I talk to people about actually, how health it is for an organization to have a workforce that has a real diverse range of thinking. So where people do think differently to others within the organization, where creative thinking is really encouraged and fostered and allowed to flourish within an organization, how some people are very solution focused and great problem solvers. Again, why wouldn't you want people with those sorts of skills within your organization, people that can massively grasp complex concepts very quickly? Again, why would you not want people with those sorts of skills within your organization. So it's trying to help organizations just think, wider than perhaps some of the stereotypes, some of the myths, some of those sort of .pigeon holed views.ErinThe other thing to bear in mind here is that the law says you have to. Being neurodivergent will usually amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. And this means that organizations have a legal obligation to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace, and to the individual's role that will remove or minimize any disadvantage to that individual. So, yes, it is important from a legal point of view. And there are really potentially huge consequences if you ignore that point of view. But it's not only as Adrian's already said that there's a threat if you don't do it. There are huge advantages to your organization's if you do do it.SarahSo it's good for your business for your organization, and there's a legal obligation. How do you do that, then? What do you think are the main barriers for organizations? And how can we overcome them to create a workplace, which does help people thrive to their fullest potential?NancyI think that the majority of workplaces are reluctant to be flexible and change. And we've got to get a bit more creative about how we organize work. So you know, most office spaces, for example, are organized around the idea that clocks needed to be adjacent to paper ledgers. Because that's when they were invented in the sort of 1800s. And, actually, that's not really true in a remote working world. And we all know that now, because we've all just lived through the COVID-19 pandemic, or are still living through should I say., So there's a whole bunch of norms that we have assumed are reasonable. And so because we've designed our workplaces around those norms, that's where we're creating disability. We've assumed that all humans, in order to have value, must be able to spell and read efficiently, must be able to operate fine motor control devices, must be able to sit still and concentrate for hours at a time, and must be able to think well in busy, loud environments. And when you think about human evolution, and those particular characteristics of human behavior, they're actually not very typical at all. It's a bit weird! And as our workplaces continue to evolve and progress into the future of work, what we need to do is start designing work around the skills that we need, rather than the things that we're used to because we've always done them that way. So we can start with this idea of changing our systems and being systemically inclusive, and then personalized to what an individual needs. But whereas at the moment, what's happening is we don't think that we have to change our environments at all. And we're putting a lot of energy and effort into making an individual able to cope with it, but actually the environment might not be suitable for the workplace at all. I'd like to see in 20 years time whether we still need to sit still to concentrate at all. You know, will people that need to sit still have sedentary dependent concentration disorder instead of people that like to move having ADHD? You know, we could flip all of this on its head. Will people that only like to communicate using literacy rather than video communication be called hyperlexic dependent syndromes, you know? [Laughs] There's lots of ways we could flip this, but it's about I think, just really thinking about the work that you want and the performance that you need, and designing your jobs and environment around the output rather than the inputAdrianFor us and how we work organizations, we look across that kind of complete employee journey or life cycle and talk with organizations about whole range of things,but things like from the attraction candidates, making sure that recruitment processes are barrier free and as inclusive as possible. And then we will work with organizations around what are they doing that actually retains that talent once you've recruited them? So have you got that onboarding process right? Is it easy to get adjustments, and Nancy touched on the built environment. And one of my sort of big bugbears is around progression and development. I've certainly seen a tendency of actually the focus being on attracting candidates, getting candidates into roles, but then not necessarily really thinking about actually how they are developed and progress within that organization. So there's a whole range of areas that an organization should be thinking. But if they think about that employee lifecycle, from the point that they're attracted to make an application all the way through to how they can then flourish and progress within that organization, they're areas that we'd really encourage organizations to focus on.ErinAn example that I've come across is an organization who had an applicant who declared that they were autistic and requested that the panel avoid hypothetical questions. Now, I know that's one of the very common ones. But this organization decided that they would not do it for just that individual, they would do it for everybody in that recruitment round. And they, they did things like give all of the candidates the questions that they were going to ask 20 minutes before the interview itself, to give them an opportunity to think about their best examples, not just the first thing that comes to their head. They did an exercise in which they gave somebody a scenario that related to the job that they would be doing and asked them about that situation, and whether it was something that experienced before - which I realise sounds hypothetical, but in the situation wasn't. And what they found was that that recruitment process worked significantly better at getting good people in than their previous one had done. And actually, they've adopted that for all recruitment going forward across the entire organization.NancyJust wanted to come in on the point of kind of how do you know what you should be doing and trying this and asking people what they need, and having lists of things that you can try. And, and I see, you know, this is a big ongoing learning, and the big grey area in this is what is a reasonable adjustment? So we know that there are lots of things that you can do as adjustments, and not all of them will be reasonable for your organization to put in and where is that boundary of reasonable? And one of the things that I'm seeing a lot of at the moment, which I find really concerning, is where people are going for that advice. I worked with an assistive technology expert Neil Milliken and the Business Disability Forum to write a commissioning framework for commissioning neuro diversity inclusion services. Because it's a bit of a minefield! Do you need a psychologist, a mental health nurse, a professional coach, a teacher and educator, you know who's got the professional expertise in this field? It's really difficult. So we put together a commissioning framework, which kind of enables you to go through the main issues of risk, safeguarding, insurance, training, credibility, and work out whether - for the size of the project you've got or the you know, the need that you have in your organization - whether you're commissioning the right people. It's a really helpful resource. The BDF and Acas both provide excellent resources in this respect. It's about going for advice to people that can give you credible advice based on a wide range of experience and professional training, as opposed to their own anecdotal case study of one.SarahThank you, Nancy. And we will put a link to that in the episode notes for this episode. I think it's available for free for two weeks. So if you're listening to this, grab it while it's available. We've been talking a lot about what we can do now. But I'm very curious to know what you think we should be doing in the future. Where would you love to see us, the workplace, the future of the workplace move on this topic?NancySo I think where we're headed is universal design, systemic inclusion, I think we're still stuck in compliance based inclusion. So we're waiting for people to fail and then we're buffering around them. We've got quite a lot of token inclusion where we're bringing in groups of people that have specific conditions for specific skills, like autistic coders, which is sadly lacking ntersectional wisdom and tends to kind of repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat the same type of person. It's not really where we should be headed. The idea of systemic inclusion, where it's just the way things are done around here. So all of the things that my two colleagues on this call have said about kind of reviewing your policies, reviewing your structures, you know, really thinking about the the eventual eventual design, where we need to be headed is where this isn't a thing anymore. Where we don't have a diversity and inclusion team where, where disability support is part of the typical HR functionality. The kind of things you need, you can order from a stationary order, or are built into the training development program. And if you think about the prevalence, one of the things we've done looking at our cohorts over the last decade is notice that a sizeable proportion of our clients come to us for help when they're promoted. So it's on promotion, when all of a sudden their job role changes a little bit, or they have to do slightly different things, that's when they need adjustments and support. So rather than wait for people to fail, why don't we just say, "Okay, so as part of our new manager onboarding, we know that for about 15 to 20% of people, they're going to need extra support in these areas. So we built this into our manager onboarding, so on as our manager onboarding courses start, here's the specific ones around managing concentration time, here's your additional literacy resources from the assistive technology suite. Off you go."SarahThank you. Adrian.AdrianSo I think there's a, I'm sensing, I think there is a real opportunity to build on some of the momentum that appears to be there at the moment. It's about actually, how do we harness this real thirst for knowledge and information that's there at the moment, and keep that conversation going and evolving as much as we possibly can? And then my final sort of comment is that - perhaps it's more of a question than a comment. But I just wonder whether COVID and the pandemic and how that's changed how we work, whether that could or should create new and better opportunities moving forward.ErinSo I think what I would like to see would be, organizations get to a point where individuals feel confident in asking for support because of what they are seeing, because they believe that the organization really will be flexible and provide the adjustments that they need, without any kind of disadvantage to those individuals. I'd like to see line managers feel confident in providing that support and in having those conversations with members of their team. And not as a one off, but as an ongoing conversation and ongoing support. I would like to see colleagues within those teams get to a point where they feel that seeing their colleagues doing things differently, or perhaps being managed differently, is a sign of good management and a sign that they can ask for support if they need it as well, rather than unfair treatment. And ultimately, I'd like to see that organizations and individuals together will, through doing these sorts of things, reap the benefits of diversity.SarahThank you. That is a brilliant note to end on, which I am reluctant to do, as there's clearly more to discuss here. We've touched on some really big questions about the whole nature of work and how we design it. And that as well as we've been going big, we've also had some really good principles and insights like not getting hung up on labels, rethinking your systems and your policies, redesigning them, getting expert advice, and not relying on stereotypes or lived experience inappropriately. It's been a fascinating podcast. So Adrian, Nancy and Erin, thank you. This has been the Acas Podcast, I've put links to helpful resources on neurodiversity, including the neurodiversity commissioning framework that Nancy mentioned, which is available for free for two weeks. And we've also put some links to advice. If you're looking for bespoke support to help you increase your diversity and inclusion than Acas also offers free chats with advisors. If that's of interest to you, then I've put a link to the number and the contact form in the notes as well. Thanks for listening.