Five essential tips for supporting your people on furlough

This blog provides a check list for supporting your people on furlough and safeguarding their wellbeing. 

As it currently stands, furlough has been extended until April, and although this is providing relief for businesses, for many people the thought of a continued period on furlough could pose a serious threat to wellbeing, morale and engagement.

Consider these five practical areas to ensure you’re safeguarding people’s wellbeing

  1. Plan for re-entry: You’ll already be working on the logistics of social distancing at work. Also think about the human side since people are unlikely to be returning to ‘work-life as they know it’. Think through how best to prepare people to deal with the changes in a well-informed and optimistic way. It’s time to think practically to provide a well reasoned and clear, though flexible, plan for everyone. As an example, HR should be thinking about how to ‘reonboard’ people, how work will be shared out and so on.
  2. Consult: Update your understanding of people’s individual circumstances so you can plan how best to support them through isolation and also the best possible return to work arrangements. Check in on their wellbeing – consider Wellbee to take the hard work out of diagnostics, recommendations and support. Overall, listen and respond in a way that’s authentic and true to your values; do what’s right, not only for your business though for the people within it.
  3. Communicate: Rather than sending emails which can be stressful and
    could also drag people into responding to other work stuff when they’re furloughed, which is not permitted, make sure there’s a place people can go to find out updates and other information as and when they need it. Set up regular, though optional, check-ins so that people can continue to connect with the business and their colleagues.
  4. Coach + develop: Now’s the time to bring L+D people out of furlough and set them to work producing learning and much needed ‘together time’, via webinars for example, to get everyone up to speed ahead of their return, be it sooner or later. You could create a real buzz and have a lot of fun with this to re-engage as well as re-educate people. If your people are remaining on furlough, make sure they have access to non-mandatory volunteering options and are supported to take them up.
  5. Engage: This is a critical time to think about engaging your people – remember they may be feeling less motivated and therefore likely to be less productive when they return. They might even have taken this time to reconsider their priorities and recalibrate their goals and aspirations. They may have thought about moving on. Have one to ones as soon as you can to understand how people feel and how you can help support their future goals.
Overall, take a people-centric, pragmatic approach and communicate the hell out of the situation.

If you’d like further advice or would like to speak to someone, please get in touch.

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