We’ve all had those fantasies – getting paid to do nothing. But when the reality bites and you’re forced to be furloughed – for many on only 80% of pay – it’s actually horrible. They will be feeling powerless, like they have no control over anything. They are relying on a small number of un-furloughed colleagues to ‘save’ the organisation and get them back to work. They will feel hugely frustrated that they’re not allowed to help, anxious that the remaining staff won’t be doing it right and desperate to play some role.
The rules are strict. They’re not allowed to work for you in a paid capacity. And they are not allowed to volunteer for you. So how can you help them get through this?
- Set up a minimum weekly visual catch-up via Zoom or whatever app you are using.
- Schedule it for the same time each week.
- Make it voluntary (it has to be) – it’s not work, it’s about demonstrating that you care about them and you want to keep them updated even if they can’t work.
- Brief them as to where you’re at and how things are going – but also allow them time for general chit chat and to share anxieties.
- If your organisation is still sending out newsletters then make sure they get a copy to their own personal emails (as they are not allowed to use work emails) so that they can stay informed.
- Suggest they get a twitter account to follow the organisation’s tweets.
- Encourage them to stay connected to each other and their teams informally to maintain relationships.
- Encourage ‘virtual’ after work drinks parties via HouseParty or Zoom or whatever so that they can have informal chats with each other.
- Encourage them to volunteer for some other organisation – virtually if they can.
- Be patient and understanding. You may feel stressed about how busy you are – but trust me, it is worse for them not being able to help.
Above all remember they are still your employees even if they are temporarily not working. They still need to feel valued and important.