The coronavirus outbreak has had a huge impact on employment levels in the UK and will most likely continue to do so for some time. It is said that more than 6 million UK workers are on the Government’s furlough scheme that was introduced under the Job Retention Scheme (JRS). There’s no doubt that the outbreak is having a financial impact on UK businesses, but what effect is it having on employees’ wellbeing and how can organisations support staff that are on furlough? Employees may be worried about whether they have a job to come back to, what happens to their employment benefits and annual leave. The uncertainty surrounding this new scheme may lead to higher levels of anxiety and stress, and as an employer it’s your job to help support your furloughed workforce navigate these difficult times.
At Achievers, we’ve put together the below tips to help support furloughed employees, which businesses and organisations can begin to implement:
Clear and concise communication is vital for employees, especially those who have been furloughed. Your employees may have questions around when they’ll be coming back to work, their pay and how it will affect them financially. Leaders need to communicate with their employees openly, honestly and in a timely manner – avoid overpromising and be clear and transparent. Explain the reason behind furloughing an employee and what impact this will have on the business. Be sure to offer an opportunity to chat with furloughed staff and provide them with the opportunity to share any concerns or issues they may be facing.
2. Support staff wellbeing
Some employees such as those with children may welcome the idea of being furloughed, while others who live alone may struggle. Speak to your employees and find out how they plan to manage their physical and mental wellbeing during this difficult time. Being stuck at home for a significant period of time can flare up anxiety and stress, leading to mental health issues. As an employer you can provide employees with details of mental health support either through your company’s benefits or support from external local charities and organisations.
3. Strengthen company culture
Now more than ever before it’s crucial that companies strengthen their company culture, a positive company culture will help to improve employee satisfaction, morale and motivation. Businesses should use this time to strengthen relationships and trust. Make sure to show your human side, be empathetic towards your employees and listen to their views. Don’t forget to involve furloughed employees in non-work related company activities, whether it’s a lunchtime virtual learning session or a social event – provide furloughed employees the opportunity to join in on company activities and still feel connected.
Click here to find out more about Achievers’ employee engagement platform.