Flexible Furlough 1 July Our Guidance
As of 1 July, you can return your Employees on a flexible/ Part-Time basis, we provide you with practical advice and guidance on how you can do this.
Under the new flexible furlough scheme you may be considering bringing Employees back from Furloughed leave and will choose to do this on a Part-Time basis, for some will be the very first time they have ever worked Part Time.
It should be expected that a variance to your Employees working pattern will therefore amend their duties and responsibilities in some way, it will be important to be clear about priorities and deadlines.
You will also need to ensure your Employee has a clear understanding of what you expect from them in terms of their new working patterns/hours and or days.
You must also remind them of the scheme rules as these still apply and your Employee must not undertake work during the time that they are furloughed, in addition their pay will be amended in line with the Scheme rules.
Review existing objectives
You may need to conduct a formal review of performance to re-assess targets or objectives, this may form part of your normal Annual Performance Review or PDP’s, you should aim to conduct this at the start of the new working pattern.
It is always important to re-align your Employees’ performance based on their adjusted objectives or goals, ensure you capture the data for future reference.
Communicate to the team
It is important to initiate and set up effective and efficient communication, we have listed some ideas below:
- Identify times when the whole team is working
- Set up small meetings (adhering to Social Distancing)
- Set up virtual meetings
- Communicate by email to the entire team
- Send out an update – newsletter
- Use noticeboards
- Use in-house systems
It is crucial you communicate on an individual level; Employees need to be able to speak with you personally and not just as part of a group setting.
Your communications can include some of the points as below such as wellbeing and workload, but it is necessary at these times to ensure they are being provided the information they need to carry out their role effectively on the Part-Time/Flexible basis.
You should also be carrying this type of communication out with anyone returning from Furloughed leave regardless of whether their role will change, this will ensure they are fully up to speed and will settle back much quicker into the Business.
Promote and support effective team working
We have faced a grim time for over 3 months and counting now, your Employees will undoubtedly have felt out of the loop, some may have or will be working as the advice still remains working from home and some now returning Part-Time, it is therefore a testing time for everyone, now is a time to help your Employees feel part of the team, build relationships and social bonds again.
One way that you can do this is by establishing opportunities for your team to connect, this may be something Employees may not want to be involved and this must be respected.
Virtual online social events have become popular at the moment and brought teams together in many ways.
Ensure you keep a check on Health and Wellbeing
There is no doubt that Covid-19 has created a range of challenges for so many and that may have a negative impact on their health and wellbeing, whilst many Employees are now anxiously awaiting their return to the workplace, some may also find returning a source of stress or anxiety.
It can be difficult to identify Employees who are struggling at times, we have listed a few pointers below:
- Check in with your Employees and ask ‘how are you today’
- Make the time in each day to speak to everyone – even if it is just for one/two minutes
- If you identify something that is of a concern deal with it straight away
- Make sure that Employees are taking breaks
- Set up buddy systems – use signposting services for help and advice
- Encourage the booking of annual leave
- Encourage Employees to engage with your Health and Wellbeing activities
It can be easy to fall into the trap of Part-Time hours and still carrying out Full-Time work, if you have followed the steps above and re-set your Employees objectives you should not fall into the same trap.
Maintain regular reviews to help you to assess workloads, this is essential even when your Employee is working from home.
Check in regularly on what they are working on, and how many hours they are working and when, from that point should you identify possible issues you can address them promptly.
This need not be viewed as ‘big brother’ or controlling, it is essential you know how productive your Employee is, homeworking does need structure and organisation, a simple conversation may be all that is needed.
Many Employees are exceptionally productive working Part-Time, should performance slip or become a concern this should be managed promptly and in accordance with your policies and procedures.
Homeworking is not always suited to all Employees, it may be requested and wanted but it must be workable and productive in the long term.
We may have been facing uncertainty, the majority of these issues have now been resolved and we are adjusting to the new normal, the accountability lies with the homeworker, your role is to ensure they have everything in place prior to the formal procedure and have no concerns, where it then does it should be managed accordingly in the future.
All homeworking agreements should be agreed and in writing.
Supporting continuous learning and development
It goes without saying that working any patterns of hours/days should open up the same opportunities to then learn and develop, when reducing hours/days it is worth remembering any opportunities that you may have and not excluding your Employees.
The provision of support with L&D should be the same for all, we always advise that you continue this along with their ongoing objectives and the ongoing provision of time to train and study.
Prepare for the future
The flexible Furlough Scheme is only temporary and at this time it is then presumed you will return some or all of your Part-Time Employees back to their respective normal hours/days.
You may find that some of your Employees find they have preferred working Part-Time and at this stage will then ask to remain on the same hours/days, this may leave you in a position and unsure of your next steps.
In the first instance we would always advise you:
- Refer your Employee to your Flexible Working Policy – as set out within your Employee Handbook
- They can then submit a Flexible Working Request
- You can then consider this taking into consideration several factors
- Where you agree to your Employees request you would issue a variation to the Written Statement of Terms and Conditions of Employment
- Should you refuse their request you would do so in writing stating your reasons
In all cases of flexible working requests, we can offer you support.
Get in touch if you need any help at all on the flexible furlough scheme or managing Employees who are working Part Time: