Four tips to communicate with furloughed staff Article icon

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As businesses make the difficult decision to furlough employees, they are faced with a dilemma.


How can we keep furloughed colleagues reassured and included, while abiding by the Government guidelines which limit the communications we can send them?


While legal counsel is advised to prevent falling foul of the guidelinesthere are ways to maintain a wellbeing focus and stay connected.

 

1. Assign an ambassador

Consider appointing a contact to keep in touch with furloughed colleagues. In small organisations this can be a weekly or fortnightly phone call while larger firms may need to depend on email. Just remember to get permission to use your furloughed employees contact details.

 

2. Stay social 

Under the guidelines, the use of your existing enterprise social networks, such as Workplace or Yammer, is off limits. But colleagues can make use of social platforms like Facebook or WhatsApp to create a closed group where they can stay in touch and feel connected.

 

3. Specify a space

Simple microsites can provide dedicated hubs where colleagues can check in and find resources to help manage their wellbeing. A relatively small investment of time and effort can create a ring-fenced place for colleagues to maintain a sense of belonging, without straying into prohibited space.

 

4. Be clear on content

Everyone needs to be aware of what they can and cannot discuss with their furloughed colleagues. They shouldn’t be asking and answering questions about work. It’s tempting to give an update on that project but it’s crucial to steer clear of all work-related discussion and keep it social.

 

 Key takeaways:

 

• Make sure everyone knows the parameters when communicating with furloughed colleagues.
• Any contact made should focus on health, wellbeing and social. 
• Only ever contact furloughed colleagues on personal devices, and make sure you have permission to do so.
• You shouldn’t use work channels or emails.