Weekly Digest – 24 June 2020

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. We hope you and your family are safe and doing well. Read on for this week’s update.

UK moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3

UK’s COVID-19 Alert Level has been reduced from Level 4 to Level 3, which means the virus is now “in general circulation” and there could be a “gradual relaxation of restrictions,” according to the Department of Health. However, this pandemic is not yet over and precautionary measures should remain in place.

Speaking of COVID-19 control and prevention, the Prime Minister has announced that members of two different households will be able to drink or dine together from 4 July in England as long as they stick to social distancing guidelines. It was also confirmed in his statement that the 2-metre rule would be ditched in favour of a “1-metre-plus” approach.

After the reopening of non-essential shops in England from 15 June, some other venues will be permitted to operate from 4 July, including pubs, hairdressers, campsites, and theatres, provided they comply with government safety guidelines such as keeping a record of the contact details of visitors for contact tracing in the event of an outbreak.

The Food Standards Agency has also released a checklist to support food businesses to reopen safely, which you can find here. If you need further guidance on how to operate safely after a period of inaction or some business advice on how to bounce back stronger, drop us an email.

Is now a good time to hire new staff?

Unfortunately, many companies have had to lay off staff and downsize because of COVID-19. That means there is actually a window of opportunity for businesses looking to hire. There is a wealth of exceptional talent out there now that might normally be snapped up. It might not be this way for long so it could be the perfect time to hire. You need to do what’s best for you and your business and we’re happy to chat to help you make the best choice.

Here are some ways to make the most of a growing talent pool according to an article by the Harvard Business Review:

  • Ask your top leaders to list three to five great players they would have liked to have hired over the past five years and then check in with those people.
  • Set up a task force to source potential candidates from target sectors and companies who may now be either jobless or open to change.
  • Interview and check references remotely with the same rigour you would in person.
  • Go out of your way to motivate the best candidates.
  • Don’t ignore the sourcing, retaining, and development of in-house talent.

What funding is available for your business?

If your business has been severely hit by COVID-19 and you need more support, the Government is giving small- and medium-sized businesses access to financial support through various initiatives such as the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), where you can get up to £50,000 no-interest loans for the first 12 months, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which offers a maximum loan of £5 million made available through commercial banks.

To cover the impact of the crisis, there are also grants made available by the government such as the £1.25b Future Fund and R&D rescue package for fast growth businesses and smaller businesses with a Research & Development focus, as well as the Small Business Grant Fund, which is a one-off grant of £10,000 that supports small businesses that pay little or no business rates as a result of small business rate relief (SBBR), rural rate relief (RRR), and tapered relief. You can also claim for 80% of your employee’s wages plus any employer National Insurance and pension contributions if you have put them on furlough because of COVID-19 under the Job Retention Scheme. You can check your eligibility here.

If you’re unsure which option is suitable for your business, contact us today and let us help you evaluate your options.

What’s next?

Over the last few weeks we’ve brought you updates on various government initiatives and cash flow schemes aimed at helping employers keep their businesses afloat amid the COVID-19 situation. We’ll keep you updated as and when things change, but we now shift our focus to helping you and your business on the path to recovery. Please feel free to get in touch with us for more personalised business advice tailored to your situation.

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Contact us if you have any questions.