2021 was a rocky year for many businesses, thanks in no small part to the ongoing issues with coronavirus restrictions. With the recent development of the Omicron variant proving to be more transmissible than the earlier Delta variant, the government is under pressure to reimpose some restrictions to limit the impact of Omicron on the NHS. Recommendations seem to run the gamut from working from home and wearing masks to a full national lockdown for non-essential businesses.
Of course, until any announcement is made, nobody knows what to expect in the upcoming weeks and months and that very uncertainty can have a detrimental impact on your business. So what can you do, as a business owner, to mitigate any incoming restrictions that might be on the horizon?
Certain things – including the nature of any incoming restrictions, how long they will be in place for, and what measure will be enacting to mitigate them – are beyond your control. Until there is an official announcement from the government, nobody is any the wiser. We appreciate how frustrating this can be for our clients, but it is detrimental to your mental health and well-being to dwell on something you cannot control. Instead, look at things you can affect – your own COVID-19 safety measures, the safety of your staff and customers and the security of your building.
If the Omicron variant is less deadly than those that have gone before, any new restrictions might only last a couple of weeks – at least, we can all hope. However, it’s important to consider any long-term or more severe restrictions as part of your forward planning. Better to have a workable system in place in the event of a month-long national lockdown and not have to use it, than to be caught unawares by new restrictions brought in overnight. Speak to your suppliers and your customers to reach an amicable agreement about last minute changes. Engage honestly with your staff to discuss how this might impact their working arrangements.
If new restrictions are introduced – either now, or in the future – you need to know that your security measures are sufficient to deal with them. This could be anything from additional on-site security to ensure safety measures are being followed, vacant property inspections, if your office staff are all expected to work from home, or enhanced security to check visitors have a negative lateral flow test result, or proof of vaccination.