Reopening the Economy: 20 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Now

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As the UK slowly starts to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners are asking themselves tough questions about the steps theyll take in the future. This article covers the topics you should be considering as the UK starts the process of reopening the economy.

At the moment, almost every entrepreneur is focused on how to prepare for the economy reopening. Were in uncharted territory, and no one really knows what lies ahead. But you can put yourself in the best possible position by asking yourself certain questions about the future of your business.

Youll need to think carefully about how your company will change. Creating a better customer experience is high up on many business leaders priority lists, but well also cover health and safety measures and employee satisfaction in this article.

20 questions to ask yourself during the reopening of the economy

Health and safety

Lets start with one of the most important topics: health and safety. These are the questions you should be asking yourself if youre going to protect yourself and your employees.

1. What measures can I take in the workplace? If youre thinking about asking employees to come back to your business premises, youll need to make sure its safe for them to do so. There should be two metres between desks and enough room for social distancing in break-out rooms or cafeteria queues, for example.

2. Are employees happy to use public transport? If youre based in a town or city centre, many of your staff members likely get to work by bus or train. Dont assume theyll be happy to resume their old habits; they may not feel comfortable using public transport yet, so youll need to consider your options.

3. Are any of my employees vulnerable? If some of your staff members are at a higher risk from coronavirus, youll need to be prepared to make sure theyre protected. If this isnt possible, you should think about how you can continue supporting them as they work from home.

4. Will the business re-open fully? You may decide to ask certain people to work on-site, and others to stay at home. In this case, youll need to work out how to select these groups fairly. Alternatively, you might want to ask all workers to return, as long as you have the facilities to make the change safely.

5. What will I do if someone falls ill? If youre welcoming employees back onto the premises, you should create a comprehensive plan of action to protect the business, should someone catch the virus. This might involve sending everyone home again or ramping up health and safety measures.

6. What mental health support does my business provide? All businesses should offer some form of emotional support, especially during times like these. The number of cases of depression and anxiety is rising, and people are grieving and suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome after the loss of loved ones. According to the Mental Health Foundation, one in 10 UK adults reported feeling suicidal in July. This number rises to one in five people with a long-term health condition, and one in four with a pre-existing mental health condition. Its likely your workers will be affected, so consider providing free professional counsellors or other support networks.

7. How can I remove xenophobia? This question might sound extreme, but racial-based hate crimes have increased during the pandemic, particularly towards the UKs Asian population. Think about how you can eradicate prejudice in your company, and make sure youre alert to any bias when it comes to team collaboration, for example.

Customer engagement

There are two main factors to consider when it comes to customer satisfaction:

8. What are consumers prioritising? Consumer values and spending habits have changed massively during the lockdown. Carry out in-depth research into your industrys trends and projections for post-pandemic activity. Then, you can adapt your business to tap into the evolving market.

9. How can I create pitch-perfect communications? Many businesses have taken the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to build trust with customers. If youre to do the same as we start reopening the economy, youll need to create empathetic content to give customers the product or service they need.

Employee satisfaction

Your workforce is one of your biggest assets; heres how you can protect it.

10. What do my employees want? Just as you should consider your customers needs, you should also think about your employees. Sending out a quick survey is a great way to gauge how your workers are feeling and what they want from the business over the coming months.

11. Would some employees prefer to continue working from home? Everyone is different, so talk to your workers to find out how they feel about returning. Some may feel isolated at home, while others may have children theyve enjoyed spending more time with.

12. Will we move to a smaller office? Many business leaders in the process of reducing their in-house team will be thinking about downsizing. You could reduce rental costs by moving to a smaller space with meeting rooms for occasional collaboration.

13. Do employees have much holiday left to take? Its easy to forget about annual leave amidst a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. As the government starts reopening the economy, will your workers want to take holiday? How will this affect your business?

14. How can I support employees in the long run? If youre allowing staff members to work remotely for the foreseeable future, you must make sure they have the tools to be productive. You could consider providing office furniture to help employees create a comfortable workspace.

15. Is our technology protected? Whether your employees are using work laptops or their own devices, you should set up cybersecurity software to make sure your files and systems are safe.

16. Have I provided a digital training platform? Dont let your employees professional development grind to a halt during this busy time. If your workers are still at home, consider uploading resources to an online portal.

17. Can I do more for my employees? Think about how you can go above and beyond to keep your workforce happy. Taking this step should improve your employee retainment levels, benefitting your business in the long run.

Business growth

The most successful business leaders will be thinking about how they can make changes to expand their companies.

18. Do I need to review my suppliers or partners? Some of the companies youve worked with in the past may have been forced to make changes or even shut down. You might need to build new relationships or make alterations to your existing agreements.

19. Are there any new opportunities? The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown up all sorts of possibilities when it comes to business growth. There may be a chance for employees to learn new skills or fill new roles.

20. Can I collaborate with similar businesses? When you reach out to other companies, you can foster partnerships and collaboratively share ideas and resources. At a time like this, its never been more important for businesses to support each other.

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