Regardless of whether it’s a full national lockdown or a localised one, the impact of these ‘interruptions’ on businesses can be significant and far-reaching.
It’s difficult to predict if, and when, further lockdowns will be required, but the Government’s ability to impose local restrictions where there is a high risk of infection means we must stay prepared for that worst-case scenario.
What we learned last time around
When the first national lockdown was announced back in March of this year, it became clear that agility was key. Those businesses who could move swiftly to remote working–and those who already had a contingency plan prepared -were the ones who managed to maintain something close to ‘business as usual’.
Getting ready to do it all over again
There may be fewer surprises this time round, but with the focus on recovery, it’s possible that some of our learnings may be overlooked.Whether yours is a business which will temporarily cease trading or one which will have just some activities curtailed, we’ve put together our top tips to prepare for lockdown.
Use all of the knowledge you gained first time around to start on a better footing this time. In particular:
-1.Think about the ‘pain points’ you experienced. How could you deal with those better?
2.Were your staff as productive as they could have been? Would more regular ‘check-ins’ have helped?
3.Did some individuals really shine and could they perhaps mentor those employees who found it more difficult?
4.Did morale or engagement suffer when the team were separated, and could some employee feedback have allowed you to boost this?
Reducing the size of the workforce is a possibility (when carried out in a fair and appropriate manner), however there are a few less extreme steps which you may want to consider: -
1. Re-furloughing employees-now possible thanks to the government’s decision to extend the scheme until March 2021 and worth exploring for eligibility
2. Cutting wages or working hours –of course, following full consultation with staff and only if permitted within existing contracts of employment
3. Laying off non-essential staff –a temporary measure to give you breathing space until things improve, again providing that your employees contracts allow this
Ensure that you carry out COVID-19 risk assessments within your workplace. Even if you have some already in place, check that they are up-to-date and that staff members understand and follow them fully.This will not only reduce your risk of having an outbreak within your business, but it will also ensure that you will pass any unannounced HSE visits which are being carried out in those premises which do remain open.
Whilst we hope that these tips will give you some guidance for your in-house preparations, we believe that there is still no substitute for having additional professional support on hand to assist you through potentially difficult times.
At CoLaw we have been using our experience and expertise to guide our clients on matters of Employment Law and Health & Safety for over 12 years. If you feel that our tailored and practical advice could just give you the added peace of mind you need right now then get in touch with our team here.
The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.