How you communicate with staff who have been furloughed will have a significant impact on how they feel about the company and their long term motivation. This is obviously important so that when conditions improve you can bring the workforce back together as quickly as possible.
Below is an example from Michelle Cawley, Head of HR at Tenzing company Ticketer. This was sent the day after furloughs were completed. Hopefully it might be a useful rough draft for your own communications.
From: Michelle Cawley
Subject: Furlough - Info and Next Steps
I am sure that the last 24 hours has been unsettling for you, and I hope that you are feeling better today.
We want to make it absolutely clear that, as we see it, this Furlough period is temporary, and we can’t wait to get you back onboard as soon as we can.
It is key for your Furlough payments that we act in a more “formal” way than is our preference. So there are just a few logistical things to mention:
- Company property: you will be able to retain all company property you currently hold whilst on furlough. We would just please remind you of our Acceptable use policy which needs to be observed always anyway.
Where you have a company mobile phone or company car due to the nature of your role, you can of course still use these for private use, but we would please ask that they are used responsibly
- A standard Out of Office response will be applied to your email accounts over the next few days, giving the sender another contact in the company that they can redirect their emails to. Please don’t worry to set an OOO, we will do it for you. Don’t worry about voicemail on your phones either as we will set up a redirect.
- Your email account and access to work systems will be temporarily suspended from Friday. Please know that this abrupt cut off is only to ensure that we do not compromise the furlough payments, as you not working is a condition of eligibility. It is 100% not a question of trust and we feel it’s really important you know that.
- Your monthly payslips will be redirected to your personal email addresses
- By the end of today if you could please complete any handovers to your managers. As mentioned your email account will still be open until Friday if there are any last bits that need to be handed over that you may not remember today
- We are very conscious that you may feel like you are being ‘cut off’ from the Company, which is the last thing we want. Therefore, we’d still like to invite you to join the ‘Cup of Joe with John’ call every Friday at 10am. We have had it confirmed that this will be ok if:
a) we don’t talk about work (which we won’t, this is social);
b) you don’t feel pressured to join (there is absolutely no pressure to do so); and
c) you join via the call via link/invite to your personal email addresses. Therefore, I’ll need your consent that I may invite you to the call (I will always bcc the invite so email addresses aren’t shared).
Please respond letting me know if you consent
- Similarly, any social connections you have with your colleagues (e.g. on a Whatsapp groups/similar) should of course be maintained – but cannot cover work topics – for same reason as above. These connections are particularly important whilst we’re all isolated for the virus and we encourage you all to stay in touch with each other
- And a final reminder please not to be tempted to do any Ticketer work whilst on Furlough leave as it is really not allowed. However what is allowed is that we can contact you for any questions we may have. And if we do need to contact you, this will be on your personal mobile numbers or email address as detailed in the agreements
Lastly, we just want to say, this won’t be forever; we are here to support you in whichever way we can; you are part of our family; and we can’t wait to have you back; and to thank you for your understanding.
And if you need someone to talk too, I’m here.
Stay safe and well,
Head of HR