Is the end in sight?

The UK regional roadmaps for lifting lockdown are all moving along, and the next relation of rules starts this week with more freedom of movement and possibly all restrictions being lifted by the end of June.

The vaccine rollout continues, with more than 30 million people and over half of UK adults have now had the first dose. Phase one of the UK’s plan is that by April all over 50s, care home residents, healthcare workers, people shielding and others with specific health conditions will have been offered the first dose and that by 31 July phase two will be finished with all adults offered the vaccination.

Despite the recent political statements and threats of withholding vaccines, common sense is prevailing and supply channels are continuing. This is positive news for businesses as we have hope towards a more normal Summer and beyond.

If you run a business and you can see the economy gradually returning to some kind of normal then now is the time to plan ahead and get your plan for recovery firmed up. Please talk to us about how we can help with finance, forecasts and a strategy for success, we have helped many businesses survive the pandemic and prepare for the future.

The question we are often asked is “What is the new normal”?

Many specialists say voluntary social distancing will continue and the wearing of face masks to prevent respiratory disease will remain a personal choice (as in South East Asia).

For businesses we have to weigh up the pros and cons of working from home as opposed to the office or business premises. If premises are Covid secure then the benefits of spontaneity, culture, companionship and energy probably outweigh working from home. That said there is the daily commute and some people have been more productive without it!

Several industry leaders have commented that their employees are tired of working from home and they are missing business life and the collaboration with and seeing their colleagues and friends in the office.

Whatever the decision, you should consult all employees as to their preference sooner rather than later and be inclusive of all views, so you keep everyone on board and ready for the recovery.

For the foreseeable future we can see that regular workplace testing will be required, and the government announced over the weekend its expansion of the schemes to offer free rapid home testing for employees. Please see below for more details.

One area we can all see change is with business travel and whilst not suitable for all businesses – “virtual” meetings are already the new normal and we predict these will continue.

Technology means we can work remotely and perform a number of administrative tasks such as bookkeeping without the need for physical documentation. Making Tax Digital for all VAT registered businesses by April 2022 will further drive the move to Cloud accounting.

The government is also looking towards the future and has announced a review into further investment in cycling and walking and has set out a vision for a travel revolution in streets, towns and communities.

The four regional governments of the UK are all looking towards similar strategies and the English vision sets out the actions required at all levels of government to make the walking and cycling vision a reality, grouped under four themes:

  • better streets for cycling and people
  • cycling and walking at the heart of decision-making
  • empowering and encouraging local authorities
  • enabling people to cycle and protecting them when they do

 Holidays in the sun?

A travel taskforce was formed last month to map out safe return to international travel. The group will focus on developing a framework to enable stakeholders from the aviation, maritime, cruise, international rail and tourism sectors to play a role in developing recommendations to the government for safer travel. We know many of us will be planning a “Staycation” this summer, but it will be good news all round if international travel opens up as well later in the year – albeit with the new normal of a vaccination passport.

We can only stay positive and wait for things to improve!

Please talk to us about helping you prepare for the new normal, it will be our pleasure to help you with your plans or anything contained in this newsletter. We are with you all the way!