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 guidelines, there 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.