Keeping In touch with your People on Furlough Leave

Wellbeing call HR

Keeping In touch with your People on Furlough Leave

When our Government announced the possibilities of ‘furloughs’ on Friday 20th March, they introduced an entirely new word into the vocabulary of the British workplace and at RMHR we have been digesting what that means. 

Fast forward nearly 4 weeks and many employers have already gone through the process of furloughing their staff. Specific rules relating to the Government’s ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ state that an employee whilst furloughed, cannot undertake any work for their employer, but does this mean business owners can not make any contact with their furloughed staff? 

On the contrary, there is nothing wrong in keeping in touch with your furloughed staff if your discussions do not involve asking them to carry out work for or on behalf of the business. Just like you would hopefully communicate with and keep in touch with an employee on maternity or adoption leave, you should be maintaining a connection with your furloughed staff. Cutting all ties is going to make your people feel isolated and excluded, so it’s important as a leader you consider the well being and welfare of each individual. 

Remember your People are the backbone and driving force to your organisation. Trying to keep your team motivated and engaged during this period of uncertainty will only help in long run as your people will recall how you and your company treated them during this time. 

I’m a big believer in keeping things simple so if you are continuing to read this, then please try following these simple steps: 

  1. Consider setting up regular wellbeing calls. Whilst your staff can’t help you with work, you can talk to them about how they are coping. It may be useful to do this with a group of furloughed staff so they can share best practice with each other, and this will also help with any feelings of social isolation.  
  2. Look to encourage any working staff to keep in contact with colleagues who are on furloughed leave if they want this. This will help all staff to still feel part of a larger team.
  3. Get your people talking to each other on social networks, such as a WhatsApp group or Facebook page. Sharing experiences build togetherness, and a sense of belonging helps people to feel proud. 
  4. Keep your people informed about what you’re doing to protect your business and how you plan to come back stronger after this is over to give your people confidence for the long-term.    
  5. Remember everybody’s needs are different and you as leader will need to schedule check-ins based on these whether that’s a weekly call and a couple of messages or a daily text and twice weekly calls. 

Your actions at this time will be remembered by your people and to the outside world. Keep your people united and work collaboratively to bring your business out of these unprecedented and uncertain times. 

Richard Milward is an advocate of Team Cheadle and offers an outsourced HR support service working with businesses to deliver top-line strategic goals. For more guidance please give him a call on 07552 306980 or email [email protected]. Alternatively, visit his website for more info.

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