07801 250 668secretary@uckfieldchamber.co.uk

How do you balance the books and retain staff following the finish of furlough?

On 30th September 2021 the government backed Coronavirus Job retention Scheme (known as furlough) came to a close, leaving employers with important decisions to make over the future of their business and that of their employees.

The ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’, which was announced at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed businesses who had to close or reduce operating hours to put their employees on leave with the government paying up to 80% of their wages. The scheme ensured that jobs were saved, and businesses could keep their overheads low during a period of reduced income.

The closure of this scheme now has many businesses concerned, as they navigate their way through recovery, trying to retain their existing employees whilst remaining profitable. As an experienced business support organisation, the Let’s Do Business Group have put together a list of suggestions for how to stay in the green whilst securing the employment of your staff.

1: Start an open conversation
The pandemic has affected more than just business, the last 18 months have also caused many to reassess things in their personal lives and want to make changes accordingly.  Speak to your staff on what their ideal working pattern might be going forward. You might find that rather than making forced cuts and redundancies you can negotiate reductions in hours, or even job share agreements that will suit all parties. Asking your employees what works for them, not only shows you care about their future, but also builds trust that your employees can talk to you.

2: Time to go hybrid?
With many office based businesses now opting for a hybrid model of office and home working it begs the question, do I really need all of my current space? If you have been thinking about downsizing or even sharing your space with another business, you are not alone. According to research conducted by the Chartered Governance Institute UK and Ireland, 36% of businesses are considering downsizing following the pandemic.

3. Get Energy Smart
Is it time to switch? If it has been a while since you looked at your energy costs, now may be a great time to take a look at the current offers, and see if a better deal can be negotiated for your tariff. Full Power Utilities can help support you to find the right deal for you.

Is there a saving to be made on travel expenses? With virtual interactions becoming the norm, many businesses are considering if face to face meetings are always the necessary option. Video calls using Zoom/Teams not only save on the fuel costs, (and help the environment)  but there is also a time saving for your staff being able to conduct their day from one place rather than sat in traffic jams.  

With Carbon Zero and sustainability being high on the agenda, you could look at ways to improve your processes to be more environmentally friendly. The ‘LoCASE Energy Efficiency grantdelivered by Green Growth Platform, is a non-repayable grant of up to £10,000 for businesses who are looking to completed projects such as LED lighting, insulation, heating or machinery upgrades, or renewable energy systems.

4: Look at business finance options
To aid your business recovery and help with working capital, it is worth considering a Recovery Loan. The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) is an initiative managed by the British Business Bank on behalf of, and with the financial backing of, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. This scheme has been created in order to help businesses recover and grow following the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan, of up to £10m per business, borrowed over 3 months to 6 years can be used for anything including cash flow, investment and growth. Let’s Do Business Group are an accredited delivery partner of the Recovery Loan Scheme for the South East, providing loans of up to £150,000 under the scheme.  Applications for this initiative close on 31st December 2021.

Alongside its finance offering, Let’s Do Business Group also offer a free business support service for those based in East Sussex and Essex who are looking for advice and help growing their business. To see how they can help you contact info@ldbg.co.uk or visit www.letsdobusinessgroup.co.uk