Hr Services

Finding your Furlough Feet

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Furlough or not to Furlough

–that’s the question on the minds of many business owners impacted by the current COVID-19 crisis. But what does it mean for both employer and employee?

The impact is wider than just an extended holiday for the employee, and sidelining the workforce for a few weeks for the employer. There are many implications including financial; social; psychological and indeed reputation.


Deciding whether to top up the salaries of your people by 20% to keep them financially stable, but perhaps at the expense of the long-term value of the company, is tough. Losing 20% of salary can be equally tough,especially for the lowest paid people. But loss of jobs in the long run due to the salary churn still being at 20%, even when the business is not earning,could be devastating longer term. This is a dilemma for everyone involved and perhaps not something that should be decided by leaders alone, where possible,employees should be consulted on the balance of options – after all, we know that people are more accepting of change when they are involved in the decisions around it.


W go to work to socialise as well as to earn money. How many of your friends did you meet at work? This is an important consideration for employers in the furlough decision making. A lot of employee engagement, motivation and retention is due to the social links people have with their work colleagues.So, whether your people are furloughed, working from home or simply on reduced team numbers, it’s important to consider ways in which employees and teams can still socialise through work.


‘If my company can do without me for a month, perhaps they’ll realise they don’t need me at all’,

‘I live on my own, in a flat, in a place where neighbours are strangers. I will be totally alone in lock down and work is all I have’, ‘my partner and I are not in a good place, the only thing keeping me sane right now is my work’, ‘I need work to make me feel like a have a value in this world’…. No matter what the situation, it’s likely that some or all of your employees will have worries about being furloughed, and some will have fears and worries about working from home too. As an employer it’s really important your management team speak to their people about emotions and feelings in these unprecedented times, your duty of care to their mental and physical health remains, even if they are not working or not working at the same location as before.


What will your clients, customers, services and suppliers think of what you are doing? How will you maintain communication with them to ensure they know the latest in your case of COVID-19 dilemmas? How will you ensure you can be there enough for them when they need? What’s been put in place to maintain a balance of service delivery versus financial burden to the company?All questions managers and leaders of organisations need to be asking themselves.

This situation is undoubtedly a troubling time for decision makers across the globe, there is help out there though, take advantage of business consultants ready to share the load such as HR specialists able to advise on people policies and practices, and L&D specialists able to support in creative ways to help your people thrive in this changing and pressured new world.

When you’re ready to talk, you can call on 01926 754085 or  Contact Us …., we’re here to help you get through.

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