Coronavirus: dealing with staffing issues

It’s important that you keep your employees healthy and motivated in the current situation.

We have a dedicated set of coronavirus FAQs on providing support for employees. This includes information about furloughing workers, and links to further guidance about social distancing for agricultural businesses.

Coronavirus: employee support FAQs

Keeping staff motivated

It is always important to keep your employees motivated, but increasingly so now. Despite social distancing measures, ensure that you keep communicating with your team. Talk to your employees to understand both their home and work situations. Is there anything you can do, or alter in the workplace that will have a positive effect on their motivation?

Our AgriLeader Team Boost is a series of videos, tips and worksheets to help you work on team motivation and dynamics.

Tea-m meeting team boost

You, your family and your employees may be feeling stressed or anxious. This will have an impact on motivation and could lead to mistakes being made, or personal safety being put at risk. We have more information, podcasts and videos about getting through this with resilience, here:

Looking after yourself and your family

Webinar: Farm staff recruitment, retention and motivation

Heather Wildman of Saviour Associates gives some tips skills for motivating your staff to achieve the results that you need for your business.

Keeping staff healthy

If you suspect that you, or an employee may have coronavirus, call or visit NHS 111 more information. As those working in food production (including agriculture) are seen as key workers, testing is now available in England (eligibility for testing differs slightly in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

Think about things you could change or implement, to reduce the potential effect of Covid-19 on your business. For example, could you ask employees to check their temperature before starting their shift? Are there doors or gates that could be kept open, to reduce the potential of the virus being spread by touching these surfaces? Are your handwashing facilities as effective as they could be?

We have created this poster that you can print and display, to help remind your employees of good practice.

Another thing to think about is a contingency plan, should your business be affected by coronavirus – for instance, do you have access to relief workers?

Contingency planning for your business

Reducing production with possible redundancies

If you are faced with reducing production and might have to let staff go, have you first considered whether you can put them on temporary leave (furlough)?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a grant that covers 80% of an employee’s usual wages. This only applies to people who were in your employment, and on the payroll, on 19 March. There is a separate scheme for the self-employed.

Check if you can claim for employee wages through the Job Retention Scheme

Find out more about Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

There is a defined process to follow when considering whether to make an employee redundant. More information about this can be found on the Acas website:

Manage staff redundancies