2021 is here! And while we knew that little would change for the UK and world at large as the clock struck midnight, this year is already proving a difficult one for many businesses as we face a new national lockdown in the UK and increasing COVID cases.
A new year often signals a new start for many of us. It seems that instead, 2021 is initially going to be about taking what we’ve learnt from 2020 and taking things day by day.
For businesses, another lockdown that may stretch out for months isn’t a welcome prospect, but fortunately, measures have been announced that detail the latest relief package for some businesses that continue to be impacted by COVID.
Relief Measures for Impacted Sectors: Retail, Hospitality, and Leisure
Retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be given one-off grants worth up to £9,000 to keep them afloat to the spring, helping those that have been hit the hardest by lockdowns to retain jobs and keep their doors open.
Supporting Businesses in Other Sectors: £595 Million Relief for Local Councils
For others, it has been announced that £595 million will be made available to local councils to support businesses that are facing challenges due to COVID but don’t qualify for the grants. This is good news for businesses in other sectors, and will be a much needed boost over the coming months.
The Importance of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is also in place for the coming weeks to keep people in jobs and reduce the need for redundancies.
This will be up and running until April 2021, and while this seems like a long time, at present this only gives businesses a few months before tough decisions may need to be made – more so now than last year for the long term future of your business. Ultimately, businesses can’t continue to rely on the furlough scheme. That’s why it’s even more important that your organisation is fit for the future.
Preparing for the Future: Taking Stock and Reflecting
While lockdown will be in effect in England until at least mid-February, the start of the year is still a good time to take stock, reflect on the year gone by and the months ahead.
If your business has stalled in recent months, or you believe it will due to lockdown, consider what you learnt in 2020 and how you can improve on things to ensure your business can go up a gear – either during or after lockdown.
Success in business has always been about who can adapt, so those that have been agile to reflect ongoing changes have fared well so far. A good place to start is assessing your business’ purpose and organisational design. Is it fit for the months and years ahead?
We know that COVID is no longer a sprint, but a marathon and with that comes the need for long term planning and a great deal of flexibility – from where and how you operate to the needs of your staff, who may be working remotely or even furloughed.
Take advantage of what is likely to be a quiet winter for many to pause, take stock and rethink your business so that you’re in a strong position to plan for the future.
While few of us expected to be in lockdown almost a year on from the first, we have the benefit of months and months of hindsight to aid us as we move forward. Unprecedented times have quickly become the everyday, and whether 2020 was a year of survival or one that enabled your business to flourish, take the opportunity of a new start to reinvigorate your organisation and your people.
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