Planning for a New Normal
Covid-19 has caused widespread disruption to both working and personal lives. It presents ongoing challenges for business owners and advice changes on an almost-daily basis.
For many businesses, the shop shut from March 20th with employees sent home to work or furloughed if working remotely was not a feasible option.
Now, almost eight weeks later, and with some of the restrictions already lifting in England, it is looking hopeful that a return to a new normal is on the agenda. But what can you do to prepare?
In this article, Louise Percy, Director of Positive About Business, looks at continuity planning and why it is crucial that complacency in the coming days and weeks, does not hamper future business success.
“Resilience is not only crucial for recovering from the virus itself, but your business must demonstrate high levels too.”
Your business continuity plan (aka getting your house in order)
Some lockdown restrictions will be lifted in the coming weeks, but social distancing is likely to continue for many months to come. Therefore, you need to set out how you plan to restore your business services and comply with advice from the government and health agencies.
- Are there specific business functions that you can prioritise for recovery?
- Subsequently, are there any business operations that are at risk?
- What will be the cost of recovery to the business?
- What is a realistic timeframe for restoring business services?
- Who are the key members of your business recovery team, and what do their roles in getting the business back up and running again look like?
I’ve talked before about company policies being a roadmap for the day-to-day in business. They offer clear direction, protect your company’s interests as well as your employees, and ensure compliance with various laws and regulations.
For some businesses, this may mean writing a raft of new business policies and procedures – but now is the time to ensure your company policies are up-to-date, and that they take Covid-19 into consideration.
From hosting meetings online to allowing employees to work remotely, your business needs to plan for and mitigate security breaches within your IT operations.
As a responsible employer, you must ensure the health & wellbeing of your employees and adopting a Flexible Working policy will be key. You may also want to revisit your Absence policy (including time off to care for dependents) to ensure they reflect advice from health professionals on isolating at home – either when employees become symptomatic, or they’ve been in contact with someone that has Covid-19.
Health & Safety
Your Health and Safety policy will have to detail new workplace safety protocols – including any requirements to wear PPE – to ensure that your employees can work while complying with social distancing rules. In addition to this, you will want to remind employees that they must take responsibility for their health and wellbeing, and that of their co-workers. Your policy should include the procedure for reporting symptoms/cases, disinfecting the workplace, and screening of employee movements and interactions.
Speak to your insurance provider about changes to your cover. This is particularly important if you have employees working from home and you should specifically ask about business equipment, employer’s and public liability, and business interruption cover.
Lockdown will not last forever and your business recovery strategy should also look to ensure that the necessary accreditations required within your industry are up-to-date. Accreditations give your business a competitive advantage, helping you win more work. They can also help build confidence and trust, cut costs and increase profits, and demonstrates an advanced level of technical knowledge and expertise. You can read more about this in my blog.
Preventing transmission is the number one priority – stay home, save lives.
But with robust planning and effective employee communication, your business will make a speedy recovery from Covid-19.
Would you like Positive About Business to create, or update, a suite of policies and procedures for your business?
Contact Louise on 0141 266 0075 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Louise Percy founded Positive About Business in 2012 to help small and medium-sized businesses start their journey to excellence and improvement.
She specialises in helping businesses achieve accreditations and ISO standards, health & safety compliance, completion of tenders and PQQs and policy documentation.
Positive About Business is based in Scotland and while every care has been taken to provide accurate information on this page, it represents our understanding of the current, and still evolving, Covid-19 situation. You must not rely on the information in this document as an alternative to legal, government, or healthcare advice from an appropriately qualified professional.