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The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been a lifeline for many businesses. Since March 2020, the scheme has supported over 11 million employee jobs and provided financial relief to viable businesses.
With the scheme due to end on the 30th of September, preparation is key to ensure your business can operate effectively and to help facilitate the smooth transition of employees returning to the workplace. Unsure how to prepare your business for the end of furlough? We guide you through the best practices to follow below.
If anything the coronavirus pandemic has taught us to expect the unexpected, with government plans changing over lockdown regularly. Unfortunately, the furlough scheme ending doesn't necessarily mean the end of government changes, which is why planning for potential economic impact is essential. A range of scenario plans need to be established to minimise the shock effect experienced during the height of lockdown. These scenario plans will need to factor in how your business will manage both existing and recently returned furloughed staff to the workplace.
Digital transformation has become more of a buzzword nowadays but the premise still remains. Adapting to the demands of the current market is more important than ever before to sustain business and maximise revenue after the furlough scheme ends.
Investing in digital transformation, be it expanding digital channels or adopting new software is one of the most impactful decisions you could make as a business. Why? Improved processes and practices mean you'll be operating and meeting business demand at a faster rate.
During the height of lockdown, we saw the likes of UK supermarkets expand their digital ordering offering, partnering with food delivery apps such as Deliveroo and UberEats to ensure the safe and convenient delivery of grocery products. In turn, this led to a 50% increase in online grocery shoppers in the UK compared to before the pandemic and consequently, partnerships with food delivery apps have continued since then.
In the same way, your business may have adopted new processes to help cope throughout the pandemic. You need to assess whether those processes are here to stay and if so, how you are going to manage this once your furloughed staff return? For example, you may decide to redeploy furloughed staff to support these new revenue opportunities.
With furloughed staff returning to work, measures need to be put in place to ensure their transition to the workplace runs smoothly. A communication and re-engagement strategy is key to allow for easy reintegration and to help manage employee social and mental wellbeing. Alongside regular communication and refresh training, it's important that you provide opportunities for your staff to connect with other staff members, such as organising in-house social events, to build a sense of unity.
With the right planning and provisions in place, preparing your business for life after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme shouldn’t be as daunting as it first seemed.
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