We are coming out of Level 4 at midnight on Monday 27 April. And for business owners it feels like a light at the end of the tunnel has been switched on, it is still a fairly dim light for many of us, but it is there!
Lockdown has certainly been a fast learning curve, and not all of those learnings have been positive, but some definitely have:
- Less pollution has been wonderful for the environment
- Not having to sit in traffic jams, yippee
- Spending more quality time with close family
And for many businesses there have also been other positive learnings:
- Work from home is possible
- Many people have been able to achieve the same outputs, in less time
So, can we take these positive learnings and replicate them in the future? And could you even turn these learnings to business advantages? I.e. offering clients the opportunity meet via video conference could be pitched as more environmentally friendly, and you could even offer discounts for accepting service in this way.
Looking to post 17th June
To date we have provided consultation letters etc to allow you to vary employee’s terms and conditions for the period until the 17th June, i.e. the end of 12 weeks after lock-down started. But, in the coming weeks you will need to consider whether you need to make permanent changes to your business. For some businesses this will mean that some positions become redundant, but this is also a good time to think about the way in which you operate, and whether you can want to make changes to replicate some of the positives of lockdown.
- Do you need an office? Or would it be better for you and your team to carry on working from home, but maybe have a weekly meeting with the whole team?
- Do you need to meet face to face with clients, or can some meetings be done just as effectively via video conference. NB If you don’t have to travel to and from meetings then it is more time and cost effective, and kinder to the environment as fewer cars are on the road
- Can you stagger work hours, or give greater flexibility around having core office hours? Rather than having the majority of people travelling at the same time this would ease up congestion is more people were working at different times
- Are you focusing on people being at their desk from 8.30am to 5pm? Are you spending too much time monitoring tasks? Many managers and business owners have pivoted to focussing on outputs per day. The purpose of employing people is to generate outputs, but we tend to focus on the number of hours people are sitting at their desk. This outlook may penalise workers are very efficient, because more gets loaded onto them, but less efficient people get rewarded by having fewer demands made of them.
- Is on-line ordering working for you? If you have developed on-line ordering systems to reopen during Level 3, is this a good avenue for you to be able to continue to trade. Most traditional retail operations are limited to the number of customers who walk past their shop, but on-line ordering opens up a whole new market and manages safe distancing!
Consider your options and prepare for consultation
Whatever your business and situation now is the time that you need to start thinking about what your business needs to look like post Covid-19. If you want to make permanent changes to terms of employment you will need to start consulting with staff in a couple of weeks’ time in order to complete and consultation process and give notice of permanent changes in accordance with the notice in their employment agreements. I.e. if someone has a 4 week notice period, and you need 1 to 2 weeks to consult with staff, then you will need to start the consultation process around the 7th May.
We are running a free webinar on Restructuring and Redundancy on Friday 24th April at 10am. Click here to register for this Webinar.