While we’re in lockdown, hundreds of thousands of talented people have been placed in the government’s furlough scheme, meaning they have a portion of their salary paid by the exchequer, but are not currently able to work for their employer. Their skills are currently not being put to good use - this is clearly a problem, but also represents an opportunity for the startup community.
As the home of UK startup hiring, we feel at WorkinStartups that it’s our duty (and mission!) to try and connect this talent under furlough to exciting startups that could make use of their skills. As a result, we are rolling out our “Furlough Exchange” filter - promoting voluntary exchanges of talent labour in return for interesting challenges, learning and networking opportunities to keep Britain working and keep the UK startup community thriving. If startups work together on this, then we can all come out the other side stronger!
How does this work?
For Workers On Furlough
While you’re unable to work for your existing employer, you can connect with startups on our site that would love to benefit from your skills. This will of course not represent a traditional “job”, and you’ll need to arrange how you volunteer your service and time, if you can spare it. Hopefully if the team and the project is sufficiently interesting, then you’ll benefit from the mental stimulation while building your network and developing your skills. Hopefully beats procrastination and twiddling your thumbs at home, and you can help an exciting startup achieve their goals!
We are encouraging startups on our site to either tag up existing job ads as open to voluntary furlough support (#furlunteering) in addition to traditional job applicants, or to post new positions exclusively looking for voluntary, furlough support (i.e. where there is no paid position available)
You can apply through our system as you would for a normal position, but just make it very clear in your cover letter submission that you’re under furlough. Easy!
And of course, feel free to share and recommend positions or opportunities with your friends and network, or encourage startups to make use of the community - the more people that join, the better this will become!
You can see our furlough opportunities here - filter by category to hone in on what best matches your skillset.
Of course, remember the UK government’s guidance for employers here, and we recommend you disclose any furlough volunteer work you take on to your employer. Honesty is the best policy! Note, we recommend you only apply to these voluntary projects if you can truly afford to do so. We still have hundreds of fully paid "traditional" roles on our site (as well as a full list of UK tech startups still hiring here), and if you need the income you should make it clear in your application and ask for the pay you rightly deserve. Some of our posts are both paid AND open to volunteers, so ensure you make it clear which camp you fit in when you apply.
We are looking to connect you with thousands of talented workers, both with and without startup experience, who could potentially help your business in some way. These are not traditional “job” opportunities (though we’ll continue to operate as a hiring platform as well) - rather a chance for an employee of another company currently on furlough to volunteer you some support on whatever project you need.
To mark a job as open to furlough, just post a new position or edit an existing one, and ensure you tag your job in the top section if you’d like to consider voluntary support alongside a fulltime, parttime or freelance position, or select “furlough only” opportunities - areas of your business where you would appreciate some support from someone with relevant skills and (now) the free time to get involved, but do not have a paid position available for whatever reason.
Encourage fellow founders who need a hand to get involved and share their roles as well. As with any exchange, the more roles open, the higher the volume of traction we will see, so don’t be shy!
Do remember - you’ll need to cooperate and comply with any legal obligations regarding those under furlough (worth checking guidelines here and here). These volunteers will not be regular employees, so it’s up to you to arrange how you’ll best work together during these challenging times. Anyone found to be exploiting volunteers or making false promises in return for labour will be removed from our site.
If you need a hand posting a furlough role, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s crucial at this time that we work together. Promising work and not delivering is going to let the whole country down, so only offer what you can afford to commit to. Similarly, facilitating a few hours of support on interesting projects is the aim - any outright exploitation of workers for roles which should be paid is simply not on.
This is an honesty exchange and a work in progress, but hopefully we can build something great that allows the startup community to weather the storm and thrive through the other side. #furlough #furlunteering