How the Furlough Scheme Can Help Your Business Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

What is the Furlough Scheme?

The term ‘furlough’ has been on many people’s lips in 2020 and into 2021. The furlough scheme was introduced in March 2020 by the government to help businesses finances through the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme pays 80% of the employees’ monthly salary (up to £2,500 per month) and was introduced to take the weight off business owners’ shoulders. The future is uncertain for many businesses, having the option to furlough their staff has led businesses to be able to survive. It’s important to manage your employees depending on the workload you have; some can be furloughed and others can carry on working like normal. In this blog, we will be going into the furlough scheme in more depth, how it can help your business through these tough times and how you should be looking after both your furloughed staff and employees that are still working.

The Challenges of Furloughing Staff Members 

Furlough has produced a few problems for business owners and managers alike. It has been difficult for businesses to decide whether it is more beneficial for the staff member to be on furlough which helps the company financially or losing a valued member of their team. The furlough scheme is set to finish in April; however, this could change depending on the current fluctuating circumstances. There will also be discussions who to furlough and for how long. Should you be rotating who goes on furlough, using the threshold of 3 weeks? It’s important as the business owner that you remember your own needs and ensuring that you support your employees throughout the whole process. Deciding which members of staff to put on furlough and which employees continue to work is difficult as both sides may see this as a negative. This is why considerate team management is crucial to ensure that all team members are all on board.

Tips on How to Manage Staff Members that are Furloughed

Employees that have been furloughed will be uncertain about when they will return to work. It can become very isolating being off work for a long period, not being in the thick of the fast-paced working environment can harm employee’s mental health. As there are a lot of uncertainty surrounding businesses surviving at the moment, those on furlough could be anxious about losing their job. To avoid your staff feeling isolated, it’s important to keep the communication between the business and your staff consistent during their time on furlough. A great way to do this is by creating an internal communication plan. Now, more than ever it should be a time that you evaluate your internal communication, you may want to invest in a company newsletter or a daily bulletin. This enhanced internal communication will allow staff to feel more confident about returning to work.

Advice on How to Deal with Employees that are Not on Furlough 

The staff that have continued working through the pandemic have been going through personal and professional challenges. They may have an increased workload taking over from staff that have been furloughed. It’s not uncommon for employees to take on a reduced salary as well due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government guidance is that we should be all working from home if it’s possible to do so. This has been a huge change for people still working as it’s a completely new working environment.  One of the most valuable things business owners can do is take some time out of their day to recognise and thank their staff for all the hard work they have done through the pandemic. This will help your staff mentally and their overall working output will improve as a result.

Read more about the latest government COVID-19 Job Retention Team guidelines here.

Contact our Team of Recruitment Experts at Pure Staff 

Do you need some help with the furloughing scheme and how your businesses can utilise the scheme? Get in touch with our team at Pure Staff to discuss your businesses recruitment requirements.