Re-Set your Business
Coronavirus and the panic that ensued left so many implications for many business owners and with this it has taken over and consumed our thoughts and everything else we do for the past few weeks.
It is now the time that as a business owner you do need to start to look forward to what work will look like when restrictions are lifted.
With so many Employers having Employees on furlough leave, Employees are worried and will want to know that your business and their role is secure.
In the upheaval and chaos of COVID19 you will undoubtedly shelved any projects. However, it is more important than ever before that you speak to your Employees.
I want to look at some key areas that we are being asked now by Employers, that you can plan for and what opportunities you have in the long-term.
1. Planning for back to work
Although we currently do not know the details, how, when, will it be phased etc…it goes without saying this needs to be planned prior to the execution to ensure it goes as smooth as possible.
You may need to require your Employees to be recalled from furlough in which case you need to consider what notice will be required and how you will be communicating to them. If you are planning to only bring back part of your team, how will you plan this? And how do you choose who to bring back first and why?.
Whilst these decisions may appear easy, they may cause concern to some of your Employees, they may have cause for concern about returning early or have other reasons and these will need to be explored.
At present there is UK testing taking place, you will need to consider if this becomes necessary within your workplace. You would be required to obtain their consent to a test, there is a justification to do so and this would be for H&S reasons within the workplace and to protect others as well as themselves, alongside this it has an implication in the collection of data of the Employee as this would be deemed a special category of personal data, it is worth noting you can only collect this under certain grounds under GDPR.
2. Reducing your headcount – Making Redundancies
As part of the planning process you may/should know what your future structure and design will look like, along with this it may mean redundancies will be necessary once the restrictions are lifted, these may be phased or at the end, again at the moment we simply do not know the details.
Planning for the redundancy process is crucial and it is always advisable to seek the assistance of a HR Professional, the area can become litigious and we would encourage you to do so prior to the planning stage.
This may be part of your long-term strategy, there should be no reason why you cannot plan for this now.
3. The new normal Working from home or Flexible Working
This may be an area you have embraced, had in place, or simply cannot wait to banish…In the rush Employers had no choice to get on with this or grind to a halt.
We have seen some clients and received calls from Employers who are now thriving, there is no doubt that the UK is proving that Home Working can work, the question is can this be sustained, for how long and how do you manage this successfully in the future.
In the HR world successful WHF and FW can work but it does need to be managed well by both parties, we have the technology no one is denying that, you need to plan productivity, effectiveness, mindset and ensure that workplaces are safe and secure. It goes without saying that WFH can be cost effective and can change the face of your operating model.
Finally, moving onto Flexible Working, this area always causes much debate and again whilst the need for change was forced upon Employers, it will now prove perhaps difficult once the restrictions have lifted to prove that the agreement is not effective anymore; It is worth noting legislation exists in this area, this will be a serious consideration for Employers and one which we are receiving many enquiries about. it is worth noting any amendments are a change to terms in contracts and possibly affect benefits.
A concern would be the rise in claims in this area if refusals are not handled appropriately and fairly.
4. Managing your Employee’s engagement
Improving engagement within your team is an area that you may have been working on for some time, whilst working remotely this will have taken a different format, when you re-group you need to consider this in your workplace.
We are already discussing on-going social distancing and what that will look like in the future, so perhaps some of the Team Engagement that you once enjoyed will not be appropriate anymore, is this the time for a complete overhaul.
Nights out, Christmas parties, drinks after work, sports, charity involvement where social interaction is required, and just general social interaction all needs to be re-invented perhaps.
I also cannot stress enough the importance of team engagement whilst we are in lockdown communication with your Team, by creating structured touch points this can really help. The absence of information is likely to create uncertainty and distress.
5. Well-being and Mental Health
You are probably much more alert to the importance of supporting wellbeing and mental health within the workplace, but we now have social isolation and we do not know what the impact of Covid 19 will bring. We can safely assume that a new set of challenges for Employers and Employees will surface once the restrictions are lifted.
You will want to consider the transition back to work, new working hours, for some the change in hours and days can be stretching. You will need to consider Employees with caring responsibilities and or children and how they will be impacted. We also cannot and must not forget Employees who have faced bereavement during this time, how can you support them now and in the longer term.
6. Policy considerations
Undoubtedly Policy updates are needed I have detailed a couple for you, it is important to update your policies regularly, you can do this prior to the return to ensure you are prepared.
- Flexible Working
- Working from Home
- Social Media
- Data Protection
- Health & Safety
- Well Being and Mental Health
- Workplace Environment
7. Strategic and Organisational changes
We are all aware that many businesses have thrived during this period whilst some have suffered a devastating blow. There has never been a more opportune time to take a much more strategic look at your business.
You have the opportunity at the moment with the CJRS Scheme open until June to set a clear strategy to seek out efficiencies that are required for you and your business in the long-term.
When we discuss Organisational Design with you, we look at reorganisation, this may be growth or retraction, either way this requires a degree of planning. As discussed, earlier consultation obligations apply both on acquiring contracts and businesses along with implementing changes which may ultimately lead to redundancies.
The time for this is now, do not delay until the restrictions are lifted.
We can help you do this and are ready to, we are offering our Organisational Design Project Consultancy Programs.
If you want to hear more – then contact us 07749407703
Author Fran Crossland
28 April 2020