It’s never too late to keep going!
The Government is currently advising businesses to allow staff to work from home where possible. Although some businesses may already have experience in managing staff who work from home, for many others this is the first time it has become an issue.
Although many businesses have already taken action the aim of this blog is to reassure smaller businesses that haven’t that it isn’t too late to put robust plans in place and still trade in these difficult times.
Business contingency plan
As a first step you should consider putting in place a contingency plan to protect your business and staff. The plan does not need to be lengthy or in a particular format but should outline what steps you are going to take in response to Covid-19 and ensure business continuity.
Once your plan is in place ensure you review and update it regularly to take account of any new developments and Government guidance.
If you have staff you will still have health and safety responsibilities whether they are in the workplace or at home and you need to conduct risk assessments on the suitability of the home working space. If you need help with this we recommend speaking with Field Training Services
You need to ensure that your employer’s liability covers your staff when they are working from home. If you do not have an insurance broker we can recommend speaking with Fluidity Insurance Consultants.
Your data protection obligations still apply when staff are working from home and you should remind them of their confidentiality and data protection obligations. For help with data protection issues during this difficult time we recommend JarvisFields Privacy and Risk Consulting.
For more advice on managing staff working from home we recommend speaking to vivoHR
Covid-19 is causing difficulties with some business’ supply chains and demand for goods and services meaning you (or your suppliers/customers) may find it difficult to carry out your contractual obligations.
The outbreak may not be a valid reason to delay or alter your obligations and you should check your contracts. Our previous blog Coronavirus : Top Tips for Business Owners dealt with force majeure clauses but you may also be able to argue that the contract has been frustrated. This is not without risk as you need to show that the contract has become impossible to perform (or has become completely different) – just because it becomes more onerous this will not be enough. If you are in doubt contact us and we can help.
Given the Government’s advice you should try to rearrange any face to face meetings with clients and instead use online meetings or telephone/video calls. A popular tool (and one which we have used since we started business in 2016) is Zoom but there are others available. If you haven’t used Zoom before don’t panic! Hampton Business Services have produced a great user guide HERE.
Communication with clients will be key in reassuring them that you are ‘keeping calm and carrying on’. If you don’t already then start using social media to communicate how your business is responding to the outbreak. This will help reassure existing clients and also attract new ones. If you need help with your social media strategy we can recommend speaking with Beautiful Client Comms.
Cashflow and funding
If you need help with cashflow and advice on how to access Government support you should maintain good communication with your accountants/bookkeepers. There is such a massive amount of information out there you can’t be expected to keep on top of it by yourself. If you don’t have an accountant or bookkeeper (or even if you do) we recommend speaking to Now Accounting Services whose social media content in these times has been invaluable to us and our clients.
So there it is – a massive blog today but hopefully plenty to think about and some good signposts for further information. As always please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions on email@example.com or 01980 676875.