Since the UK entered lockdown on 23 March, the way we all do business on a daily basis has changed dramatically – with home working, social distancing or closing down operations altogether, all businesses have been impacted by the lockdown measures.
Now the UK government has set out their strategy of easing lockdown, what does it all mean for your business? Our accountancy partners Mazuma have provided the below advice for businesses preparing to exit lockdown and begin trading again in the “new normal”.
Government advice for businesses differs across the UK
The first step for businesses to take is to review the government guidance provided for the industry you operate in and your location. The advice varies for businesses in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so follow the links below to find the advice specific to you:
There is different advice based on where you are as well as how your business operates, factoring in how you interact with customers and suppliers, what is required of your employees and what is needed for your business to run smoothly. Initially, all businesses should complete a risk assessment to ensure the health and safety of all staff and customers.
Social distancing at work
The current UK government advice is to maintain a distance of 2 metres from other people wherever possible, and 1 metre if 2 metres is not practical.
If your business is planning to welcome back staff and customers to the premises, you should make sure that measures are implemented to support effective social distancing. This could entail adapting work schedules or shift patterns so staff are staggered, moving workstations so they are further apart and reducing face-to-face contact wherever possible at the workplace.
It is also recommended that colleagues are split into small teams, or “bubbles”, to limit the number of people that are in close contact with each other.
Follow the below links for specific social distancing advice for businesses in each UK country:
Keeping the workspace clean
Another key focus for businesses is the level of cleanliness within the workplace to help minimise the potential spread of the virus. If you are opening physical premises of any kind then you will need to arrange regular and thorough cleaning of all surfaces.
Surfaces in communal areas are the most important, including things like lift buttons, door handles, desks, chairs, bathrooms and kitchen appliances.
It’s also important to remind your employees, customers, suppliers and other visitors to wash their hands regularly and to avoid touching their face.
Managing your money
Keeping on top of your cash flow will be key for businesses exiting lockdown. It may sound obvious, but make sure you keep a close eye on your income, as well as comparing your income now to the pre-lockdown levels to give yourself a good idea on what to expect going forward.
When you have a good understanding of your current position you can make better decisions and more accurate predictions of what the future of your company might look like – as well as develop plans for any changes that need to be made as you continue trading in a new and uncertain economic environment.
If you require financial support, make sure you have read the government support options. If you’re self-employed you might be able to claim a grant through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme which you can read more about in our guide: What is the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)? There are also options for business loans and wage support depending on your circumstances.
When you submit your next tax return make sure you’re also taking full advantage of any tax relief available to you and making the most of your money. If you’d like help with your business accounts, Mazuma is here to help.
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