Just as lifting lockdown can’t be rushed, neither can business recovery. There are lots of elements to take into consideration, from employee safety and concerns to implementing new systems and processes.
At Nixon Williams, we’ve outlined a few simple steps to take to aid business recovery and reignite your business after lockdown.
Employee safety: Looking after yourself and any employees in the workplace
- Make sure employees feel confident and safe in coming back to work. Conduct a survey before lockdown officially ends to see what their opinions are on your office space or premises, in regards to cleanliness and the ability to social distance
- Allow a change in working hours if necessary, so workers can avoid busy commutes on public transport
- Allow flexible working, as childcare may be an issue, if schools haven’t returned
- Implement hygiene measures, such as sufficient handwashing stations and supplies, like hand soap, paper towels, and bins
- Provide staff with their own cleaning equipment, such as antibacterial wipes, as well as PPE, such as face coverings and gloves
- Create more space between desks and chairs, if there isn’t sufficient already
- Limit the number of employees allowed in one room or area at any given time
- If possible, encourage your staff to continue working from home
Technology: Utilise technology to your advantage
- Some clients and customers may not feel happy to meet face-to-face, even after lockdown restrictions are lifted. Having the appropriate technology implemented ensures you can still continue to communicate with these clients
- Encourage staff to utilise technology where possible, such as video calls, rather than travelling. This will save on travel costs and on time for your employee
- If applicable, implement contactless only payment options, to limit the transit of any disease
- Invest in online services. It’s now easier than ever to sell online and investing in robust systems and processes to do this, whether that’s an eCommerce website, or software that allows the client to sign up online, should be a priority.
Communication: Ensure employees, contractors, suppliers, and clients are informed
- Regular communication with employees and contractors regarding reopening, furlough, or any other employment matter is essential, so that staff feel reassured and aware of any changes
- Communication with clients and customers should be clear and open, in multiple formats, so that all audiences receive the message – for example, email, social media, or direct mail
- Suppliers need to be made aware that your business is in the process of reopening. Communicating with then will ensure they can prepare for any orders you may have or begin support retainers again – for example, IT or marketing
Supply and demand: Understanding the needs of the customer
- This fits in alongside communication. Customers need to be made aware of reduced staffing and reduced supply, which means not all needs may be met. This can fit for any industry and any service that is provided
- You may need to source other suppliers during your business recovery. Whether this is from an affordability standpoint, or that your current supplier will no longer be operating, finding this information out before lockdown is completely lifted, is a sensible idea
Financial: Constantly evaluate your cash flow
- The Chancellor confirmed that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will be extended to 30th September 2021. This allows furloughed workers to receive 80% of their current salary, or up to £2,500 per month until 30th September 2021. From July, employers will be required to contribute 10% increasing to 20% in August and September. This will mean a reduction in the grant that you can claim from the government for furloughed employees from July onwards.
- Evaluating your cash flow on a regular basis, and taking into account the government proposal, should allow you to effectively communicate with employees and clients in regards to what can be achieved during that timeframe.
- If you can, encourage your staff to continue working from home, as this may save money on building costs and fees
- If you need further advice or guidance on what financial support is out there for your business during this time, please read our COVID-19 support article
Business recovery may be a slow process after lockdown, but there is support and guidance available. If you’re a contractor and require any specific help during this period, please get in touch with our friendly team directly.