As lockdown restrictions lift across the UK, businesses are preparing for a new working environment.

The Chancellor may have begun winding down the schemes that have supported businesses through the pandemic, but government-backed loans and the furlough scheme will remain factors for some time yet.

Now, the long road to recovery begins for the UK economy. Businesses will need to consider how they can safely reopen workplaces and take stock of the challenges and opportunities stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all whilst planning for the future.

Staying safe
The ability to implement social distancing in the workplace will be key to a successful return. However, it will mean reduced capacity in most work spaces, so staffing requirements and working patterns will have to be reviewed.

Crucial to managing a flexible return to work will be the technological capabilities that support a combination of office and remote working. Updated hygiene practices will also be vital to a safe return, especially if a business is expecting to welcome visitors onto its premises. Firms will need to consider measures such as creating one-way walk-throughs, installing hand sanitising stations, opening more entrances and exits and changing seating layouts in break rooms.

Keep the cash flowing
There will be major challenges for businesses that need to fulfill order books, maintain stocks and overcome supply chain delays. However, managing cash flow will be paramount for businesses that are aiming to exit the lockdown and recover successfully. Understanding the cash position in the short and medium-term will help firms assess which steps they need to take in order to keep the business moving and profitable.

Lowering costs
When a business is facing cash flow issues, lowering costs is a key element in turning the situation around. When some firms are experiencing a dip in profits, action needs to be taken to correct the underlying problem. Regardless of the size of the business, discretionary and non-crucial costs can be decreased or cut out entirely.

Finding funding
Many businesses are likely to need some additional help as they start back up again. Existing banks and lenders should be the first port of call, but remember there are other sources of finance available.

Interest rates are near zero, while numerous government funding options are helping ensure businesses remain open and operational. These include the various government COVID-19 support schemes.

Additionally, businesses must make sure that they utilise the tax reliefs available to them. There are various reliefs for business owners which can assist with tax planning. We can offer advice and guidance to make sure your business is benefiting from the appropriate reliefs.

The road ahead
The road ahead may not be an easy one. It is unlikely to be straightforward and setbacks are probable. However, careful planning will help businesses be prepared to take advantage of a surge in economic activity and the return of market confidence.

For strategic business planning advice, please contact the team on 0161 761 5231 or email