Before I start, my caveat is that I started writing this on 25 April. It’s now 6 May. But I’ve checked and the website links are still up to date!
It is, thankfully, Friday.
And it is Day 5 of being on furlough. Really, I should stop counting because it’s going to be a very long wait. The furloughing, according to the letter I received from work, might be up to 3 months. It scares me to think of what 3 months of not doing anything will look like for me. I try to tell myself that I’ll find something to do other than bingeing on TV boxsets. Only 5 days in and I’m losing the ability to communicate!
What I’m afraid the most of is the inertia that seems to fill me when I have no direction during the day. I’m writing in my journal a lot because it’s the physicality of having to sit at a desk and actually DO something that helps me feel not so useless. Of course there are quotes and memes about being kind to yourself at this time, or forgiving yourself for the inactivity, or accepting that these are exceptional circumstances and we’ve never been in this situation, so whatever you’re doing, however much or little, is enough. I get that. In my head that makes sense. But there’s also that whiny inner critic that goes, “well, you’ve got things that you said you would do, that’s on your list, so do them instead of just wallowing in the anxiousness that you can’t explain!” I’m really conflicted.
Also, my body clock is out of whack. Completely. I’m wide awake until about 2:30 in the morning and then I feel horrible during the day. I’m going to make sure I go to bed at around 10PM and stay in bed, even if I’m not sleepy. I really need to discipline myself. The only problem is I’m so jumpy and anxious and I can’t settle.
Anyway, in case you’re like me and you like knowing things (in other words, you’re nosey), and you’re not yet on furlough and you’re wondering whether you or your employer can qualify for the government’s job retention scheme, I’ve added links below to a few helpful sites that might provide you with answers. I’ve tried to make sure these are either proper professional bodies or government website links so that I’m not advertising incorrect information. I hope these links help someone else!
Check if your employer can use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Gov.uk link)
If you’re self-employed can you apply for a grant for assistance? (Gov.uk link)
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Furlough FAQs – where you can download the guide about what furlough is. There is also text that you can read through and a helpful video explaining what is furloughing. When I read it, it was written to apply to an HR person’s perspective, but it does answer a lot of the questions that I had (what is furloughing, how long can they have me on furlough, what about the usual benefits, etc.).
What does it mean if I’ve been furloughed? – This is a BBC explainer and helps put things into perspective and I think the one-liners help simplify things. It explains the realities of what being on furlough means in a language that is accessible.
Covid-19 Guidance for employees, employers and businesses (Gov.uk link)
Hopefully these links help you. Of course if you’re reading this outside the UK, unfortunately, you will have to read something that is more local as employment law will have different provisions in different countries.
Thanks! And I hope you’re all keeping well, staying in and staying safe!