4th August 2020
With Boris Johnson warning of a likely second wave of covid-19 in Europe and some cities in the UK returning to higher restrictions, it is sensible for businesses to take stock of how they will cope in the event of a second wave.
Over a third of small and medium sized businesses say that they fear a second wave could have a severe impact on their business, with some fearing that another lockdown would mark the end. It is thought that any future lockdowns may be localised, with larger cities or highly affected areas to reverting to previous measures. This could see hospitality businesses and offices face closing their doors once again if your business operates in the affected locations.
Hopefully, businesses will not experience anywhere near as much disruption as they did the first time round and are already well prepared with their policies, PPE and different working patterns and procedures. But it will be profits and lack of footfall that pose the biggest threat.
In order to minimise the risk on your business, it is best to prepare for the worst so that you are ready to adapt your business. Our Business Team at Lamb Brooks share some things to consider…
It is unlikely that your business has ever experienced a pandemic of this nature and the lockdown, government requirements and economic impact that followed. Take what you have learned from the first phase of lockdown. Consider what worked, what did not work and what you could do differently. The advantage that businesses have now is that should a second wave hit, they will have a better understanding and know what to expect.
If your business has been re-open for a while it is natural for some of your strict policies and procedures to start slipping slightly due to your staff or visitors becoming less wary of Covid-19 and being more confident as they move around your workplace. You should ensure that policies are fit for purpose and tighten up procedures ensuring that everyone is complying. If you have had any issues then communicate with your staff, put up more signs/posters and tweak your procedures if needed. If infection rates continue to rise again, you want to ensure that your employees are not affected and that you are provide a secure workplace. Keeping in mind the change in weather and if your policies will need adapting when Autumn arrives.
If you had employees working remotely (or still do) then now is a good time to review your policies in case, you need to revert to home working for a second period of lockdown. Learn from what issues arose back in March or April and ensure you have the IT support, licenses and equipment needed should you need to quickly send your workforce home. Can you be clearer on expectations? Can you do more to support staff? What was the staff feedback like from those working at home.
During these times businesses are likely to be keeping a close eye on their cashflow which is a good practice and ever more important during these uncertain times. Make sure you understand the financial position that your business is in and what effect a second wave of Covid-19 cases could have on your company. Speak to your accountant and make sure you have filed and claimed any support that has been available for your business and look at where you can make cost savings. If you have invoices that are overdue to you then ensure you are following your payment policies to keep your cashflow moving and recoup any debts.
Remember how difficult it was to get hold of hand soap, sanitizer and toilet rolls back in March? Now is probably a good time to stock-check and place a top-up order in anticipation of a second wave. Your business is likely to need and use these products anyway and they have a long shelf live, so if you have the storage space then place your orders sooner rather than later. Check that your employees have plenty of protective equipment too and consider asking for feedback on what works best for them. Think – gloves, masks, visors, screens etc. If a second waves hits you may need to enhance your measures or at least ensure you have plenty of PPE to see you through.
Keep an ear to the ground by watching the news and listening to Government updates from Boris Johnson and the Health Minister. If new guidance is put in place, then your business may need to adapt and prepare quickly. The Government have been clear that the Furlough Scheme will not be extended past October, but we wait to hear if any further assistance will be given to businesses should we experience a second wave of the virus once Autumn starts. Make sure you keep up to date with trusted lines of information such as the BBC or the World Health Organisation. There are many articles and infographics being shared online at the moment, but it is important to check that these are up-to-date, are from a reliable source and apply to the UK before making changes to your business.
Covid-19 has been testing on everyone’s mental health. A second wave hitting your business just as you start to get back to a level of normality, or before all your workforce have managed to return to work, could impact on the mental health of your employees and the senior management. This has been the biggest challenge that many businesses have faced. Business Owners themselves are susceptible to mental health issues if faced with further hurdles, lack of income and potentially without the government help of loans, breaks and the furlough scheme this time round. Remind yourself of your duties as an employer when it comes to the mental health of your workforce and ensure you are supporting their and your own wellbeing.
We all are hoping that we can avoid a second wave in the UK, or if faced with a repeat of lockdown this autumn, that businesses are prepared and can adapt once more to weather the storm.
If you would like a review of your policies, procedures, contracts or leases to ensure that you are doing all you can to protect and structure your business correctly then please get in touch with our Business Team who can advise.
Call our office on 01256 844888, email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak to our online chat assistant. Our team can offer Fixed Fee appointments and competitive rates to ensure your business is up to speed.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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