Supporting your furloughed staff

Team meeting

With the coronavirus outbreak having a huge impact on business across the UK many organisations have no choice but to furlough staff which can potentially impact the health of employees. Those that are on furlough will also need to adjust to significant change. Here we have outlined some of the ways you can support furloughed staff with their wellbeing.


With the uncertainty for many employees it is important that you are communicating with your team regularly, with clear and transparent messaging. Ensure that you are sticking to the facts and avoid making false promises. It is like that your employees are concerned about job uncertainty and known timescales so make sure you are sensitive to the subject. They might also be worried about finance so providing them with the right support and advice will help them feel more settled.

Health and Wellbeing

From having a job and loads of things to do, being furloughed can pose a significant risk to mental health. These issues can create a lack of purpose and routine, reduce social interaction and increase stress and anxiety. Here is how you can support your employees.

Mental wellbeing:

  • Employees can still access our Employee Assistance Programme service which provides support on a wide range of wellbeing topics including counselling, resilience, mindfulness and meditation.
  • The NHS’ Every Mind Matters website has support for anyone experiencing difficulty with their mental health. This site includes self-management resources as well as urgent support for those in crisis.
  • Encourage employees to maintain a daily routine that can include exercise, eating healthily and using technology to connect with other. See MIND for further information on looking after your mental health and wellbeing. Stay informed. but not too informed. Find a credible source you can trust such as GOV.UK, or the NHS website, and fact check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or from other people.

Other ways employees can help their wellbeing is to do things they enjoy, learn something new, and take time to relax and focus on the present.

Physical wellbeing:

It is important that you encourage your employee to focus and maintain their physical wellbeing during lockdown. These include healthy eating tips, reduce their alcohol intake and go for a walk once a day. Other useful physical activities can include housework or gardening. And setting goals can also act as a motivator.

  • The NHS fitness centre provides free exercises classes and numerous free workouts can be found online.
  • Tips, advice and guidance on how to keep or get active in and around your home with Sport England #stayinworkout

Find purpose:
For those people who are well and able, there are still volunteering opportunities available, which can help your employees maintain a sense of purpose and contribute where possible:

  • Covid Mutual Aid – where local communities come together to offer support to each other
  • Volunteering Matters
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  • Reach volunteering – for employees with specific professional skills to offer
  • Red Cross Reserves – co-ordinating efforts to support public services.
  • Princes Trust – lets you support a young person online who is looking for work or starting their own business.
  • Independent Age – provides advice and support for older people. Telephone volunteering is home based and is as easy as having a 30-minute to an hour chat with an old person, weekly or fortnightly.
  • United Nations Volunteers – change the world through online volunteering. UN Volunteers connects you with humanitarian and development organisations in need of skills like research, writing, art, and design. Opportunities from one hour per week and up.
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