5 Ways To Support Furloughed Workers
With the Government’s furlough scheme now extended until October, furloughed employees are going to be worried and naturally employees want to know how they can provide some support. But with the scheme unfamiliar to all, and various rules in place, it can be a tricky area to navigate.
Here Monster.co.uk shares five ways to support furloughed employees.
Communication is Key
Like all other aspects of work right now, communication is key for furloughed staff. Everyone is feeling uncertain around their futures, but unlike business leaders, employees don’t have all the information in front of them which can make them feel even more concerned. It’s therefore paramount that leaders communicate with their employees openly, honestly and in a timely manner. Although it can happen when you’re trying to reassure someone, avoid overpromising and be clear and transparent. If you’re having to extend the furlough period, explain the reason behind this. Be open about why the business needs support, how furloughing staff can contribute towards this and how these actions will help the company to be in a better position when things are back to normal. This will help employees to gain understanding and feel more at ease
let them know that your door is always open to talk about what is going on.
Support staff wellbeing
Some employees, such as those with children or other caring responsibilities, might be happy to be furloughed as it gives them more time to help their families. But those who don’t have those responsibilities, or live alone, may really struggle with the thought of empty days ahead. It’s therefore, really important to speak with your employees and learn about how they plan to manage their physical and mental wellbeing over the coming months. Being stuck at home for a long period of time can flare up anxiety and stress, leading to mental health issues. As their employee, show that you care by providing them with details of mental health support either through your company’s benefits or support from external local charities and organisations.
Check out our guide – Looking after your mental health in Lockdown
Create a learning and development plan
This time is actually a great opportunity for staff to develop skills in areas they’ve always be interested in. Learning and development helps keep the brain active and gives people some focus in their day, which may be otherwise very unstructured. As we already know, losing structure and routine can impact mental health so anything that can bring this back into daily life is a benefit. When speaking to staff about being furloughed, ask them about any skills they want to develop, or provide them with guidance on what might be beneficial for their progression when they return. If you have a learning budget in place or partnership with an e-learning provider, make sure your staff are aware of these and encourage their use. If this isn’t something you provide, pull together a list of free resources that they can use – there are a lot available right now.
Anything that can be offered is better than nothing as it will not only help improve their wellbeing right now but can also help them to build valuable skills that the company will benefit from long term. Whilst your staff may be feeling a bit lost, remind them that this is a brilliant time to be used for growth and an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often thanks to the busy lives we all lead.
Keep them included in the company’s culture
Although you may not all be in the office together, it’s crucial to maintain company culture and build on it. With so much uncertainty, a great company culture will help to improve employee satisfaction, morale and motivation. But don’t forget to involve furloughed employees! Whilst they can’t take part in company meetings, they can be invited to all social activities (quiz night, bingo etc.) and virtual learning sessions. By doing this, it helps furloughed employees feel connected to their colleagues.
Arrange catch-ups with managers or HR
Although furloughed employees aren’t working, managers are still responsible for their wellbeing. At this time, more than ever, wellbeing must be a top priority. Make sure calls are organised to check in on how they’re doing. Don’t discuss anything work related, or update them on projects they were working on. Instead ask them questions relating to their wellbeing and make sure they don’t have any concerns – if they do respond to them.
By taking this time to catch-up, it shows your furloughed staff that you still care about them and they are valued. It also helps to keep them connected so that it’s not difficult for them to return to work.