Whilst we currently don’t know how the Government will ease the lock-down, we wanted to look at how businesses could start preparing now, ready for when the lifting of restrictions starts.
Businesses will be in different positions. Some businesses may have maintained the same level of work as prior to the Virus, and therefore haven’t furloughed any staff; some businesses may have all of their work on hold, and have therefore furloughed all team members. No matter the position of your business, hopefully this article will provide you with some items to consider.
We will look at four elements to a business emerging from the COVID:19 pandemic:
Market your Business
If your work has dried up because of the pandemic, you will want to focus on your marketing activities now – before the lock-down is eased. Hopefully during the lock-down you have reviewed your Marketing Plan and have focused on those activities which will ensure that your customers will come to you as soon as they are able. If you haven’t looked at your Marketing Plan, you will want to consider:
- How can you stay close and continue to support your current customers
- Who are your prospective customers and how best can you reach them
- How can you stay front of mind to your current and prospective customers; for example: speaking to your customers now, asking “how are things going” etc; distributing regular newsletters; posting on social media; and advertising in appropriate places.
- Look at your website and your marketing collateral – can they be improved?
Secure the Work
A focus on your marketing will allow you to start securing the work. If your business has come to a standstill during the pandemic, you will want to carefully plan in the work, so you can manage the new contracts, and steadily increase the workload, so you can meet your customers’ expectations. There are key considerations when securing the work:
- Planning your resources – in terms of employees, suppliers and time
- Ensuring you have contracts in place with your customers; and considering if the contracts need reviewing due to the impact of the lock-down
- Ensuring your cashflow is strong and stable enough to support the delivery of the new work
As you secure new work, you will want to consider your resourcing needs. The Government’s Furlough Scheme currently runs up to the end of June 2020. If you are moving employees from the Furlough Scheme back to employment, you will want to ensure that your paperwork is correct, and that HMRC is informed that the employees have returned to work.
Should you not be able to re-instate all of your employees prior to the end of the Furlough Scheme, you will want to consider how you lay off those employees, with reference to your employment contracts. You may wish to consider taking advice from our trusted advisors, HR consultancy P3 People Management.
Follow Social Distancing
As your work continues to ramp-up and your employees return to work, you will want to consider how you can protect your employees, your customers and suppliers, to prevent the resurgence of the infection. The Government may provide further guidance on this, when the time comes. However, we are anticipating that businesses will want to consider the following:
- Can employees work safely in the workplace, allowing two metres between each individual?
- Do all employees need to be in the workplace – can some work just as productively from home?
- Would a shift-system within the workplace work – whether employees attend the workplace at different times each day, or some attend some days, and others attend other days?
- How best can you reduce congestion around your office kitchen and toilets?
- How best can you reduce staff from touching public surfaces? Should you encourage staff to bring their own flasks of coffee etc, rather than using the kitchen?
- How regularly should you clean surfaces such as door handles, tables, desks etc?
- If you and your team are consistently in close proximity to members of the public, for instance hairdressers, you may want to source Personal Protective Equipment.
We hope the above has given you some food for thought. As a final point, we would encourage all clients to start developing their Post Lock-Down Plan now. If we can help in any way, please contact Jackie or Andrew.