What does plan B mean for your business?

Following the announcement that England will move to Plan B as the Omicron variant spreads, Ladyboss HR discusses the implications for businesses.

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The Prime Minister last week confirmed that England will move to Plan B following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK.

Re-cap on the restrictions;

-With effect from 10 December masks must be worn at most public venues (including cinemas and theatres), unless people are exercising, eating, drinking, or singing.

-With effect from 13 December people now should work from home if they are able to do so.

– With effect from 15 December, COVID status certification is required for nightclubs or other large crowded spaces, including all unseated indoor venues with a capacity of 500 or more, all unseated outdoor venues of 4,000 or more, or any venue, seated or not, which contain 10,000 or more.

What are the implications for Employers?

It has been difficult for our clients to once again try and interpret these vague guidelines surrounding working from home.  Over recent months we have worked tirelessly with our clients to support them in bringing their people back into the office safely.  There have been debates/surveys/focus groups on adopting hybrid working arrangements and accompanying policies. All of which may now need to be reconsidered.

Working from home

If your Employees can work from home, then we have advised clients to provide this option. However, there are several factors that you need to consider;

  • Mental wellbeing – in a recent event that I chaired a Mental health expert described us being in a ‘Mental Health pandemic.’  It is particularly important that you consider your people and the impact working from home full time may have on them.  Are you able to keep some of your offices open with additional measures for people struggling at home? If not, can you increase communication and support to those most vulnerable in your team?
  • Working environment – If you have not already, I would strongly urge you to ensure that all your people working from home have had a recent risk assessment completed and this is documented and stored correctly. Do they have a suitable environment to work from home with the appropriate equipment?
  • Roles requiring support and supervision – this is a difficult challenge that Employers are currently facing, particularly with the roll out and encouragement of the kick start scheme for example. There are some roles within a business that would simply struggle to work from home as they lack the skillset or full understanding of the role without the need for peer support/supervision.

My advice would be to not have a blanket policy for all your organisation and to assess individual needs accordingly. We have all reacted in different ways to the pandemic and opinions are very divided.  Ultimately, we need to keep our people safe and remain operating, as without a profitable business the debate surrounding working from home or not is irrelevant.

Hospitality sector

It has been devastating to see the impact plan B is already having on the hospitality sector and the associated supply chain. Employers may need to consider whether reduced audiences/bookings etc will mean that staff rotas need to be altered. Without the re-introduction of any sort of furlough scheme, then worst case scenario may lead to redundancies. If you are struggling with the plan B restrictions in terms of HR or Health and Safety or need to make some tough decisions surrounding headcount, then please do not hesitate to contact my team.

We are more than happy to provide a complimentary initial consultation – we need to support one another in this challenging time.

For more information visit: www.highperformanceconsultancy.com

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