The country is slowly but surely being eased out of lockdown, but the country, along with a lot of small businesses, are finding it was easier to go into lockdown than it is to come out of lockdown. So just how should you plan for the end of lockdown?
It’s unquestionable now that after the lockdown has come to an end virtually no business will be the same business as it was at the start of lockdown and many employees will feel different about the way they want to work in the future too.
You’re going to want to find a range of factors that could influence and validate your plans when you’re coming out of lockdown. GoBankingRates research suggests the following are the important factors we should be looking out for to indicate a recovery:
- Unemployment and claims for benefits falling
- Consumers spending by choice
- B2B spending increasing
- A vaccine cure for COVID19
And let’s be honest, a vaccine for COVID-19 appears to be quite a way away at the moment.
According to the Office of National Statistics 76% of businesses have continued to trade through the Coronavirus Crisis, but that means a massive 24% aren’t trading. Furthermore, only 30% of businesses reported their turnover hasn’t been affected whereas 24% reported their turnover had decreased by more than half!
When planning for the end of lockdown, Alison Driver suggests you should: “Try to establish the “knowns” for your business.”
She went on to say “We know we’re likely to have to preserve the practicalities of social distancing and hygiene for a long time after the lifting of restrictions. How can you implement these in your workplace?
“We know making people redundant costs money, even more so if you don’t carry out the redundancy correctly. The furlough scheme continues for some months to come and this may buy you some much needed time, even if there are some small costs in the short-term.
“Employees have up to two years to take 20 days of their accrued leave in 2020 so there is no rush to make people take their leave if you need them to help get your business back up and running.”
Of course, if you don’t know or don’t understand something it’s time to find out, because only with the fullest knowledge will you be able to create the best plan for coming out of lockdown. Just remember that your plan shouldn’t be set in stone, over the last couple of months there has been the introduction of a range of measures to reduce the impact of the lockdown and it’s likely there are still more to come.
However, many businesses are going to have to face some very difficult decisions about whether they’ll have too many staff at the end of lockdown and it’s likely that redundancies will have to be part of that thinking.
If you do have to make redundancies it’s important to remember the wellbeing of the ‘survivors’. According to Andrew Kinder, there are five key points to bear in mind:
- Have a clear communication plan
- Continue communicating after downsizing
- Allow for an emotional response
- Consider using counselling services
- Involve ‘survivors’
It’s essential to provide simple to understand and effective communication if you do intend to implement a redundancy scheme. This enables your team to get themselves psychologically prepared for what’s about to happen and lets you communicate the value of the employees who will remain with the business whilst keeping them engaged and maintaining their wellbeing, which will invariably be impacted.
An adaptive approach to planning for lockdown, coupled with high levels of employee communication – even when you have to make the toughest of decisions – is crucial to getting your business to thrive again after lockdown.