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Learning from lockdown: interpreting the guidance

Oliver Bridge Oliver Bridge


As we continue to work with our clients on moving beyond the current situation, we're hearing your stories about how you're preparing your businesses for the end of lockdown. In a weekly series, Oliver Bridge is sharing what we're hearing from you, so we can all work through COVID-19 together.

Guidance for employers and businesses on coronavirus

Amazingly, and despite the government releasing more-detailed guidance on how companies should operate in a COVID-19-world this week, very few discussions among our clients have been about interpreting that guidance. Personally, I think what the government has provided is as good as we were going to get, particularly for manufacturing businesses. It included a risk-assessment based approach to:

  • Washing hands and providing sanitiser
  • Separating people in all areas of the workplace, including staggering start times
  • Cleaning regimes for common areas and workstations
  • Shielding vulnerable employees 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been asked to enforce compliance to the new guidance, however, their funding has been cut by over £100 million since 2009. The HSE has been given an additional £14 million from the government, but I don't think that will go very far towards the huge changes in the workplace. Does this mean the government are relying on workers to enforce change?

In addition to the guidance, businesses are also coming to terms with conducting risk assessments for employees working from home. Many businesses are coming to terms with remote working for the medium to long term, this may need investment, but who pays for it?

We will be looking more in depth into how the new guidance will impact efficiencies in the workplace in coming articles.

Leadership and business plans

We have spotted a few trends that are agnostic of sector or situation, and show that businesses are changing:

  • Many leaders are identifying inefficiencies and cost opportunities and figuring out how they might want to change their business in the future
  • There are opportunities for businesses that want to take them, and leaders need to be thinking about how to adapt and change to make the most of them by re-quantifying product margins and building new business plans
  • This situation has revealed that some future leaders don’t have the necessary adaptability skills, which is forcing businesses to rethink how they identify their leaders of the future
  • Businesses want to be more results-focused, by looking to manage areas, such as the back office, on an output basis and formalising their more-ambiguous processes to protect continuity, especially with potential employee attrition

To discuss any of the issues above, contact Oliver Bridge, and check back next week for another article in this ongoing series.