On Wednesday 12th August, the UK officially entered a recession after GDP fell by 20.4% as a result of Covid-19, causing the worst economic plunge across the G7 nations. Falling retail sales and subsequent decline in GDP along with loss in revenue for many businesses, has led to a recession far worse than the previous one in 2009.
The declaration of the recession will now add fuel to the already heightened job crisis that is consuming the UK, with 750,000 jobs being shed since the outbreak of Covid-19. It is now expected that millions of jobs could be lost over the coming months, so it is no surprise that 42% of workers said their jobs feel “less safe” than they did a year ago. The threat of redundancy has impacted the emotional wellbeing of employees.
As much as employers are not able to predict the economic state of their business, it is important that they support the emotional wellbeing of their employees as best they can. This goes for employees who have continued to work remotely throughout the pandemic, along with those who have been furloughed as part of the government’s job retention scheme.
As of 2nd August 2020, approximately 9.6 million jobs from 1.2 million employers were furloughed in the UK. Although many have gradually returned to their jobs, there are still millions of workers who remain on the scheme and are fearful of their predicament once the furlough scheme ends, which as it currently stands is at the end of October. By then, it is expected that the government will have spent approximately 80 billion GBP on the scheme.
It is vital that employers keep in regular contact with furloughed employees, especially as time goes on and many are worried they may not have a job to return to. Although employers may not have a definitive update, checking up on employees and ensuring that their emotional wellbeing is acknowledged and appreciated is pivotal to employee engagement and showcases great leadership skills at a time when it is needed most.
It is equally as important that employers show their appreciation to those employees who have worked constantly throughout lockdown, keeping the remaining parts of the business afloat. Having to transform homes into offices over night has been a learning curve for most workers, with remote working becoming the new normal for most.
Whilst many employees are grateful to have felt needed during the pandemic, along with job security, data suggests that many have felt resentment to towards their furloughed counterparts. This is to be expected as the pandemic continues and workers are taking on more responsibilities without a payrise to match it, so it is more crucial than ever that employers do what they can to keep their employees engaged, motivated and feeling appreciated.
An employer’s leadership and management skills needs to be exercised conscientiously during these times. If your company is looking for ways to boost morale amongst all employees and help with both their emotional and financial wellbeing, get in touch today.