The Coronavirus pandemic continues to throw up a wide range of challenges, many of them effect your business. It’s fair to say that the UK – and the planet as a whole – has not experienced a crisis of such far-reaching consequences since World War Two.
As the authorities try to control the spread of the virus, healthcare professionals work tirelessly to treat those affected and the general public stick to government guidelines on social distancing, businesses up and down the country attempt to get to grips with such a drastic and unforeseen set of circumstances.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of the lockdown measures on March 23rd heralded widespread changes in the everyday lives of people across the nation, while the impact on businesses was equally significant.
The results of a rapid-response survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics showed that 25% of companies reported they had temporarily closed or paused trading between March 23rd and April 5th.
Meanwhile, of those still running, an average of 21% of staff had been placed on furloughunder the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. With almost all sectors affected and no definitive time frame on when the situation may begin to improve, it’s crucial that businesses do everything in their power to navigate a way through the crisis.
Adopt a flexible strategy for your business
Now, more than ever, it’s imperative for your organization to implement a robust plan. The decision-makers need to consider all the factors, assess the risks as best they can and act accordingly, with protecting the long-term stability and future of the company the primary objective. This is a far from straightforward process, of course, and firms such as Withers can offer expert insight and guidance on how to weather the Covid-19 storm. It’s also crucial for you to build a certain amount of flexibility into your strategy. The situation is shifting all the time, and you need to be able to adapt your plan appropriately.
Understand your rights
As part of your strategy, your organization must become familiar with all the options available to it during these difficult times. As already mentioned, the UK has launched a job retention scheme, which allows companies to place staff on temporary leave while the government reimburses 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month. The scheme is open to all businesses and there is plenty of available guidance for UK employers on furloughs and redundancies.
Communication is key
This applies to employers and employees alike. For the former, it’s never been more important to keep in close contact with your people to check on their welfare and ensure they have everything they need to perform their roles. Business owners should also be encouraging their staff to regularly communicate with each other, as remote working can be a lonely practice. Furthermore, any developments regarding furloughs or redundancies should always be shared immediately and explained clearly, as any added uncertainty can prompt great anxiety among employees.
Encouraging collaboration is another key aspect that will help your organization navigate its way through these challenging times. Your legal, human resources and public relations teams will have to be fully aligned on the messages they’re sending out, both internally and externally. Presenting a united front will help to give your employees confidence that the business is doing everything it can to protect them and that every attempt is being made to forge a way through this crisis.