Once lockdown ends and businesses classed as non-essential can open once more, it is vital that these businesses adhere to safe practices and do all they can to make the smooth transition to full business activity once more.
Below is a guide to returning to work after lockdown as copied from an article on the Simply Business website by Catriona Smith which is well worth checking out:
Risk Assessments, Budgets & Adjustments
- `Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment
If you haven’t reopened since the start of the pandemic, you’ll need to complete a Covid-19 risk assessment. The government says that if you have fewer than five employees, you don’t need to do one.
There’s nothing new here, but here’s a reminder of things to consider:
check for health and safety hazards
provide hand sanitisation and hand washing facilities
encourage social distancing with two metre markers and signage
identify what could cause transmission of the virus and take steps to prevent it, for example using screens and barriers
For more information, read the government’s risk assessment guidelines.
- Update your Google My Business profile
As the high street opens up, customers will be looking at your business profile page on Google to know whether you’re open. This information appears when you search for your business in Google, so it’s important that it’s up to date.
You should update your page with:
main opening hours
‘More hours’ if you’re running services such as delivery, takeaway, and collection
additional information (called ‘attributes’) to show if you offer online services, such as classes and appointments
any extra services you’re offering
Read Google’s guide on how to edit your business profile for more details.
- Check you’re insured
If your business insurance policy lapsed during Covid-19, or you have different requirements due to changes in the way you run your business, make sure you’re covered before getting back to work.
- Tell customers you’re back in business
Next, update your website and social media channels and start marketing. Let customers know when you’re opening and create excitement, whether that’s by sharing photos of new stock on Instagram, emailing clients about booking appointments, or filming a video in your fitness studio.
You might also want to revisit your business plan and consider doing a SWOT analysis to give your business a health check.
- Continue offering online services
While we’re all excited about getting back into the world, the demand for online services is likely to continue – whether that’s to support those still shielding or simply for convenience.
Depending on your business, many of you may have pivoted to offer services online over the past year, so it could be a good idea to continue this alongside reopening for in-person services if you can.
- Take time to adjust
Going back to work after a long time away is likely to be mentally taxing, whether that’s because you’re working through long client waiting lists, rebuilding networks, or just getting used to a new routine.
We’ve all spent many months at home, so it’ll take time to adjust to life after lockdown. To avoid burning out, make sure you’re taking time to look after yourself as you transition back to work – we have a range of wellbeing resources for the self-employed, from stress and anxiety support to nutrition and sleep tips.
If you’re welcoming staff back to the office, make sure you’re looking after employee well-being too. The pandemic has affected everyone differently, so good communication and transparency is important.
- Stay on top of your budget
Make sure you have a clear budget (both for your personal life and your business) so you can stay on top of your finances as you revive your business.
- Access coronavirus support – if you can
While our research into the impact of Covid-19 suggests many small businesses felt that government support didn’t go far enough, you may be able to benefit from the various schemes still running.`
If You Require Any Help
If you run a business and you require any help on sourcing funding in the form of grants etc, or you need help with your budget, please give our offices a call here in Armagh on 028 3752 2909. We will be very happy to assist you.