As we all work out what the roadmap to reopening post-lockdown might look like, putting a plan in place to make sure your staff and customers can return to your business safely and with confidence is essential.
Unless you’ve found a way to diversify during lockdown, you may have furloughed or laid off staff, you’ve probably put your supply chain on hold and you may need to review your cash flow, too. Working out how you’ll move back into business needs careful attention. There’s much to think about and the team at Ryan’s has put together five points to remember as a starter for ten:
Starting your supply chain up
You’ll want to order in your supplies in advance of opening, so you’ll need to check your suppliers are up and running too. Make sure you check out their safe working practices in advance and ensure that you’ve set up the processes to ensure your business is safe for deliveries.
Bringing your people in
As you prepare for a return to trading, you may need to bring some furloughed employees back to work. It’s important to remember that your employees can be furloughed multiple times, so you can bring staff back on a staged basis, but each separate instance must be for a minimum period of three consecutive weeks.
Make sure, as well, that you review your contractual obligations as an employer and that you’re providing a safe place to work.
Drawing your customers back
Making sure your customers know you’re planning to reopen and that they’re confident that your business is a safe place to enter are both critical. Depending on your business footprint and your target audience, you may wish to advertise locally, regionally or nationally, via social media or by direct mail. If you have a good quality, GDPR compliant customer database, sending an email update is a great idea.
Managing capacity for safe social distancing
Of course, as well as making sure you have the people power and the supplies in place to get back up and running, it’s likely that social distancing will be in place for some time to come. So, you’ll need to make sure you have strict measures in place to limit the number of people coming into your premises at any one time, and to keep those people separated from each other by at least two metres.
This might be managed by a queue system outside your premises (check you’re covered for public liability), or you might ask your customers to phone in their orders in advance, simply picking them up when they’re ready.
As we’ve seen with many supermarkets taking card payments only, you’ll also need to consider how to take payments. Contactless cards are ideal and, recognising the need for payments to be made in this way during lockdown, the contactless limit was raised from £30 to £45 on 1 April 2020. Payments by telephone or made online can also be an option.
Opening your business back up with confidence
As always when changes are made, as you’re getting set to reopen it’s a good idea to double check your new processes and practices are compliant with regulatory requirements, and to make sure any new business equipment is covered.
For more information
Insurer Allianz has produced a Guidance for Businesses looking to reopen after temporarily shutting down or reducing their operations due to Covid-19.
The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) have also produced a comprehensive Returning to the Workplace Guide which will help you plan your organisation’s next steps following a period of furlough or once lockdown measures start easing.
The guidance is ever changing so it is important to keep up to date with these changes at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.
If you have any concerns about the impact of the Coronavirus on your insurance please contact your account handler or contact us by phone or email.