In the unique circumstances of the pandemic we’re currently facing, many organisations are having to take measures to protect their businesses and employee’s. Some have taken up the government’s furlough scheme, which pays employees 80% of their wages if they are out of work due to the coronavirus.

During these uncertain times, Well at Work wanted to share some information about how to maintain and protect your staff’s wellbeing, should they need to be furloughed.

Communication

  • Ensure open and transparent communication with all employees, at all times.
  • The uncertainty and unknown can cause the most worry, if possible, be open with your financials and let them know that furloughing staff is an essential way to continue the business.
  • Have a written document or plan with confirmation of the furlough, the salary they will receive and date this will be reassessed.

Individual support

  • If possible, try to have an open conversation with each staff member about how they’re feeling and what their plan is during their period of furlough.
  • Every individual is unique, some employees may have childcare duties or carer responsibilities and be grateful for the furlough. Other’s may struggle with isolation or lack of structure in their day which could heighten anxiety levels or impact mental health in other ways.
  • If somebody says they have no plan to fill their time, they may need some additional support. Encourage staff to take up a hobby, learn a new skill or volunteer to keep busy during this time.
  • Financial worries – a 20% salary reduction can make things difficult financially for some people, provide advice on budgeting or signpost to online budgeting apps e.g. Pennies.
  • If team members live on their own, make an effort to ensure that colleagues keep in touch, or arrange regular check ins. 
  • You could ask employees if they would like to complete a wellness action plan or use it to structure a conversation 

Show people they are valued

  • Ensure that your team know that they are valued and that the furlough is a direct result of the current pandemic, this is especially important if some of the team are staying on full time.
  • Work can be strongly linked to levels of self-worth and esteem. Tell your staff that they are valued and that you’re looking forward to working together again when this is over.
  • It might be tempting, but don’t shy away from tough conversations and be proactive in asking employees about their wellbeing.

Staying connected

  • Although your furloughed staff shouldn’t be working, it’s still possible to arrange virtual or social check ins for staff. Try and do a ‘get together’ at least every fortnight so that teams can stay connected throughout this time. There are plenty of free platforms you can use to do this.
  • Encourage work colleagues to keep in touch and maintain friendships during this time.
  • Ensure you take care of your own wellbeing first and foremost, by practising the 5 ways to wellbeing.