How to Ensure Furloughed Team Members Don’t Feel Left Behind
We all know that businesses all over the world have been greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, causing supply chain problems, distribution problems and a lack of cash flow.
Many businesses have had to furlough their staff, in fact it is estimated to be around 9 million people.
Coronavirus and social distancing is already proving a difficult time with nearly half of Britons reporting feelings of high anxiety but employees also have the added worry that their furloughed status will soon become unemployment.
With mental health such a prominent concern during this time, managers should definitely make wellness a priority – are you communicating with your team on how they are feeling and how you can support them?
Communication is key
Furloughing staff can create feelings of low confidence, isolation and worry.
At a time where people already feel disconnected from friends and family, feeling left out of their work’s social dynamic or as though their job is at risk may prove too much for some.
Communication will be key in ensuring people understand their position and in restoring confidence in the working relationship.
MHFA have created lots of helpful resources on how to ‘take 10’ with your employees to discuss well being, and this is a fantastic way to instigate a productive conversation.
Managers have also been urged by mental health professionals to ask how someone is twice, as they are more likely to get an honest answer the second time.
Encourage Good Habits
Once you have reassured your furloughed team members that this is temporary and ensured everyone is as well as they can be, there are some positive habits you can suggest they practice maintaining good health during this time. These may include:
- Maintaining a daily routine
- Having a productive to-do list and getting small tasks done
- Exercising and taking time for self-care
- Staying in good contact with friends, co-workers and family in socially distant but meaningful ways
Lots of businesses have already recognised the significance and importance of their social dynamics during this time.
Fortunately, many managers have come up with creative ways to bring the team together and provide meaningful distraction such as virtual meetings, pub quizzes, games and teambuilding activities.
During this time, the team can connect, check in with each other, provide humour and light relief from the current situation and keep everyone up to speed with what’s happening in their industry.
No employee wants to feel left behind so maintaining a digital ‘water cooler’ space for the team to mingle is key.
It’s a strange time to try to manage a team through but with careful consideration, emotional intelligence and positive leadership skills, managers can ensure that furloughed team members feel valued and included.