11 May 2020
Whether your business was closed during lockdown, partially open, or completely open, we must recognise that Covid-19 has changed the way we think about many things in our lives. As we come out of lockdown – here are some things that you may want to consider when focusing on your post-lockdown revival
The first thing you need to look at is where you are now … look at your financials – what can you afford?
Review your sales pipeline - what income / revenue do you have coming in? Has your pipeline gone into hibernation - do you need to kick-start it and how will you do that? Do you have a sales team or is this something that you will need to do yourself?
Review your outgoings / expenses – do you need to make savings or cut costs or are you in a good place to move forward? If you do need to cut costs, where can these savings be made without jeopardising your recovery?
Have you tapped into available grants and funding – there is a short window of opportunity here as the Government will reduce grants as soon as they can, so talk to your accountant to find the best support for your business (if you haven’t already) but focus now on regeneration rather than survival - how can you use this funding to revive your business
Once you have done this, you should begin to have a clearer picture about what you can afford moving forward. It may be that you need to switch your business back on in steps as opposed to jumping in with both feet from Day One
The next step is to tap into your network – through social media, let people know that you are still in business and planning / focusing on the future. Touch base with your client base, find out how they are and what support they need … and if you can help. Contact your suppliers and ask how they are doing; find out if, and when they can support your future needs. If you have employees, let them know what you are planning their return to work and ask for their ideas and concerns
Whilst you are tapping into your network, you also need to be carrying out various risk assessments – if you have not done this already, these could include:
The next step to look at is workforce planning – how will you re-integrate your employees back into your business? Having reviewed all other factors, you should have identified which employees are essential for re-growth, whether that be building your pipeline or delivering services / products. You will also identify if potentially redundancies are an option that you may need to consider, and redundancy costs and consultations will need to be factored into your recovery plan
Use the Government’s job retention scheme to facilitate a phased return of employees. Rotate team members (in 3-week blocks) between furlough, on-site work and/or homeworking. Introduce and stagger shifts or workdays to enable social distancing whilst kick-starting service/product delivery. As recently updated, the job retention scheme is available until the end of September 2021, so plan any phased return plan with this in mind
One other factor consider under workforce planning is holiday entitlement – employees will still accrue holidays whilst on furlough so, on their return to work they will have this holiday to take. Whilst the Government has temporarily legislated to allow employees to carry forward up to 4-weeks holiday from this year into the next two years, they have also allowed furloughed workers to take holidays whilst on furlough and receive holiday pay (at 100% of their pre-furloughed normal rate) if authorised by their manager to do so. An employer has the right to request that an employee takes holiday at a specified time as long as the appropriate notice is given but, as a business owner you need to decide what is feasible and affordable for your business at this time and build this into your back to work plan
And finally, let’s focus on communication – it’s important that you keep all your business’ stakeholders in the loop at this time … especially your employees. Let them know that you are working on a plan, then let them know what the plan is. Involve them – ask for their concerns, ideas, and feedback; they more input they have, the more buy-in they will have when the plan is implemented. Educate them also – about how the ‘new normal’ will look; ways of working will need to adapt, and your expectations will change on how the business needs to operate in the post-lockdown era
Throughout all of this, one thing we must all recognise is that our ability to cope with and manage change and, if you need help with this, all you need to do is ask. Alternatively, if you want more regular, strategic HR support to plan your post-lockdown business revival, please get in touch