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Coming Out of Lockdown

Back to ‘Normal’?

After such a long period of inactivity, or unusual working patterns, it’s a good idea to have a clear and robust plan in place to ensure you transition ‘back to normal’ in the best possible shape.

Our Top Ten Tips are full of practical advice and things to consider that will help to structure your thinking. Don’t forget to involve your team in this process too ….. after all, they will be a fantastic source of great ideas.

Click on each element of the image to the right and it will take you to the information you want! Please feel free to click around on each section to learn everything you need to about Coming Out of Lockdown! 

Tip #1: Resource plan

Depending on the sector you operate in, the coronavirus pandemic and various lockdowns will have had a greater, or lesser impact on your business. Coming out of lockdown, when we will see restrictions start to lift and a return to more normal life is a good opportunity to take stock.  With the UK’s furlough scheme extended until the end of September 2021, now is the time to assess your resource requirements against your order book and sales forecast, taking account of the ongoing flexible furlough provision and the tapering of government support from July 2021 onwards.

Things to consider:

  • How many staff do you need vs how much work / revenue is coming in?
  • What skills do they need?
  • When do you need them?
  • Do you have a surplus (redundancy planning) or deficit (recruitment campaign)?

Tip #2: Retain your best people

Now, more than ever, is the time that businesses will rely on their best people, with everyone needing to pull in the same direction to drive business performance. Things to consider:
  • The reality is that every organisation that is determined to be back stronger will be reliant on talented people performing at their best. If you have talented staff, how can you be sure their heads aren’t being turned by your competitors? Read our blog article on How to Motivate Employees Returning to Work to find out how to support and motivate your team returning to work after the lockdown.
  • If you are looking for more talented staff to join your team, then you will need to start planning your recruitment campaign. Ensure you have clearly defined the role(s) you need to fill and identified the attitude and values the ideal candidate will need to have to fit with your unique team culture. Think about where you will find these people and how you will attract them to your organisation. Finally, think about the application and selection process and how you will offer and onboard the new members of the team.
  • A great way to support your employees and help their net pay go further, is by providing access for your staff to Benefits Cloud, a simple to use, flexible online platform that provides access to a range of retail discounts, deals, and offers, enabling your staff to save money. What’s more, as a special ‘coming out of lockdown’ incentive, Benefits Cloud are promoting a SPECIAL OFFER of FREE access to their Standard Package for all organisations (no matter how many employees) until 1st October. Simply quote LockOffer1021

Tip #3 Remote Working

Many businesses will have implemented home or remote working when the first lockdown was introduced back in March 2020 and for thousands of people, this will have become the norm over the past 12 months. For some, the return to the normal workplace will be viewed with dread (the commute, who will be at home for all the parcel deliveries / to hang out the washing etc.) and others will be looking forward to it with delight (more social interaction, no more home schooling etc.). Some businesses will be looking at the opportunity to rationalise estate and travel costs and improve their carbon footprint. Things to consider:
  • Is this a temporary or permanent arrangement? As part of planning for life after lockdown, if your business is looking to introduce remote or even hybrid working arrangements permanently, it’s very important to review your employment contracts and policies so as to reflect the new working arrangements precisely and set proper boundaries, and that you properly consult on such changes. Amendments to ‘place of work’ clauses in employment contracts and the introduction of a new home working policy are very important for your business so as to avoid disputes and maximise productivity.
  • Think about the other considerations such as equipment, health and safety / risk management, insurance, engagement and wellbeing and how you will manage your people and their work activity

Tip #4: Is your workplace COVID safe?

The Health and Safety Executive has issued guidance on ensuring your workplace is Covid-Secure and is undertaking regular spot checks and inspections to ensure compliance.  Adhering to these standards and communicating clearly to your team is vitally important, not only to maintain their (and others) health and wellbeing, but also to maintain trust and confidence that as an employer, you are doing the right thing and acting ethically. Chris and his team at Optimum Safety Management are specialists in this field and will be delighted to help and guide you through the complexities of legislation and good practice.

Things to consider:

Tip #5: Payroll

Furlough brought a whole new level of complexity into the payroll world when it was introduced in 2020.  With the UK’s furlough scheme extended until the end of September 2021, the government’s ongoing support for those employees’ unable to work has been welcomed.

This may require you write to your employees to confirm an extension to their period of furlough, change the terms of furlough or even bring their period of furlough to an end.  All of this requires close liaison with Payroll to ensure all staff continue to be paid correctly.

Things to consider:

  • Have you written to staff, where necessary, to update the terms of their furlough?
  • Extension of furlough
  • Change of furlough terms
  • Ending of furlough
  • Remember to ensure that payroll are notified of all changes accurately and on a timely basis

Tip #6: Annual Leave

In March 2020, the government announced a relaxation of the rules on carrying over annual leave during Covid-19.  However, if you haven’t managed this proactively, you may have allowed your employees to build up a huge backlog of accrued annual leave, which could be a major issue if not managed over a period of time.

Things to consider:

  • Check your employees’ annual leave entitlements and balances?
  • Do you have a plan for managing this?
  • How will you deal with staff going abroad on holiday if quarantine rules still apply on their return to the UK?

Tip #7: Contracts, Handbook and Policies

Do your contracts, handbook and policies reflect the reality of the workplace and your business post-lockdown?

Things to consider:

  • LOST clause
  • Covid / Testing Policy
  • Workplace vaccinations
  • Sick Pay / isolation policy
  • Holiday Pay (carry over etc.)
  • IT / Social Media Policy
  • Data Protection Policy
  • Homeworking Policy

Tip #8: Leadership

If there was ever any doubt, the last 12-months have proven that we are living in a VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous). This brings with it a whole range of leadership challenges, that require us to be agile and adaptable in our approach.  How will the post-lockdown working arrangements affect your leadership style and management rhythm? Will everyone come back to the workplace? Will you adopt a hybrid approach with some at home, some at work or will the whole team continue to work from home?

Things to consider:

  • Think about your role as the leader. What can you do to share the vision and create ‘Team Health’ in order to drive a high performing team? Read our blog article on Creating a High Performing Team on Simple Principles to find out more 
  • Are you ready to lead in this new world?  Read more in our blog article on Leadership in Today’s New Norm  
  • Will life ever ‘go back to normal’?  Read more about Leadership in an Uncertain and Changing World 
  • How will this influence your communication styles and approaches?  What will work best in what situation? How will team meetings and one-to-one’s work. How will you ensure those who continue to work from home feel engaged and feel part of the team?


Tip #9: Wellbeing

Good physical, mental and financial mental wellbeing are critical to ensuring that your team are able to bring the best version of themselves to work, reducing the barriers to sustainable good performance.  Wellbeing has been high on many organisations’ agenda during lockdown. Don’t lose sight of the importance of this as the dialogue around wellbeing and the positive support interventions will continue to be important. Things to consider:
  • Physical Wellbeing:  regardless of where your staff are working, helping them to look after their physical health is critical. Whether it’s COVID-secure working practices or COVID-testing, encouraging regular exercise or healthy eating – think broadly about what you can do help your people stay fit and well.
  • Mental Wellbeing:  this has been at the top of the agenda during lockdown, with many people now feeling much more comfortable to talk openly about their mental health and wellbeing.  ‘What About Me?’ is a positive and proactive Wellbeing provision consisting of 12 Wellbeing Workouts with scientifically grounded information, practical videos, worksheets, exercises, templates and other pragmatic ways for you to strengthen your psychological health and wellbeing. Self-care is the first step to being the best you can be and enjoying what you choose to do and who you choose to be. Contact us for more details on the innovative and highly cost-effective programme.
  • Financial Wellbeing:  be mindful that some people will be used to the way things are now and may have adapted their lifestyles and budget accordingly. Other people may be desperate to return to their normal salary if they have been on furlough pay. Whatever decisions you make when coming out of lockdown, think through the impact and implications for your staff.

Tip #10: Lessons Learned

And finally …… don’t be in such a rush to ‘return to normal’ that you miss the opportunity to retain those elements of lockdown that have worked really well for you and your staff.

Things to consider:

  • What worked well for you and how can you continue?
  • What actions or interventions do you need to put in place to help ease any future disruptions?

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