Josie Broadstock is founder of Warrington HR firm Altum.

In a weekly column she discusses how this could be the new norm for business

IT was to be expected, but as confirmed last week, the lockdown continues.

Keeping all things positive, this period of hiatus offers a great time for business owners and managers to reflect, review and prepare. It’s a rare opportunity, perhaps once in a lifetime, that we should take advantage of. Indeed, the impact of Covid 19 has made us review the way in which we work and operate as businesses. We have all had to adapt and find new ways of working. Much of it has been challenging but not all of it negative.

It is important that we prepare and plan in order to be ready to stage our return to renewed operations once the lockdown begins to lift. Preparation is key to future success; by building on what we have learnt by implementing leaner and smarter working we all have the opportunity to create our own competitive advantage.

To be ready for when the lockdown ‘thaw’ begins, preparations should be started now to stage the un-furloughing of designated groups of staff and plan the longer term return to work of all employees. There needs to be a plan to re-connect with clients, suppliers and third parties long before you need them. Service level agreements will need reviewing, as will budgets, forecasts, marketing strategies, targets and longer term business plans.

Our latest free ‘Toolkit’ document – Issue 3, is entitled ‘How to review your strategy and procedures (and why you should)’, it considers the scenarios and possible timescales in greater detail. It’s a free download on our website

The Toolkit also offers a workbook to review and consider your own leadership style going forward.

It also considers your future operational practices; Do you go back to working the way that you did, or do you adopt some of the lockdown ‘new ways of working’ and integrate them into your new business model?

Last week the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, commented that when the lockdown is lifted, businesses should encourage employees to avoid rush hour travel, on public transport, where possible to aid social distancing. He went on to comment, ‘It may well be that…companies say, “Actually, it’s worked pretty well having some of our staff working from remote locations. Why don’t we carry on doing that?”

Indeed, could you continue to have half of your workforce working from home? This might provide solutions for employees with caring duties, or that have a long commute. This wouldn’t just benefit your employees, boost morale and productivity, but could also reduce the size of the office space required along with running costs. This would also support your business in being more environmentally friendly.

Do reflect on the current situation, its positives challenges and make a plan. Should my team be able to help, get in touch and one of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks, and keep well,