4 August 2020
As businesses move from response to recovery, Phillips director Jack Gardener teamed up with Beaufort Financial to share his experience and expertise online in a webinar called Ready for Recovery.
Jack, who works across the Employment, Commercial and Corporate teams at Phillips, discussed key areas which employers need to consider in order to ensure their businesses are well positioned to benefit from any uptick in the economy or survive a second lockdown or prolonged economic downturn.
He briefly shared his experience of having bought Phillips with fellow City of London lawyer Max Hope in October 2018. They were making great progress in modernising and expanding the firm only to have the firm’s growth challenged by the coronavirus lockdown.
Jack explained: “We had overhauled the IT, added new operating procedures, brought in a variety of new clients and in February this year we merged with Brain Chase Coles. We then carried out a complete office refit and on March 6th I was thrilled that we had moved everyone into one office. But by the end of March we were all spread out across Hampshire and beyond thanks to COVID-19.”
It was against this background that Jack wanted to share some of the lessons he had learned first-hand over the previous months from both the legal and commercial perspectives.
In the webinar Jack covered three main areas: reopening your workplace, restructuring your workforce, and reviewing your business.
He spoke about workplace risk assessments and the importance of discussing and involving employees in this process.
“Risk assessments are a way to get your staff comfortable with coming back into your workplace,” said Jack who went on to discuss issues including face coverings, what to do if staff refuse to return to the workplace and bringing back people from furlough leave.
With businesses having to take a hard look at their workforce needs with changes in work patterns and reduced cashflow, Jack offered advice about restructuring and the difficult subject of redundancies and how best to carry this out, giving an idea of the time frames and steps involved for business owners looking to streamline their workforce, whilst possibly taking advantage of the furlough scheme.
On a positive note, on reviewing businesses, Jack asked “What have you liked about the lockdown and the way your business is run? In our business it has meant that the naysayers of technology have finally had to embrace it and we’re going to be able to introduce flexible working in ways we had never considered before.”
Referring to staff working from home, he said: “I think we’ve learned to trust people a lot more, our staff have really dug-in and helped us out. We have also spoken much more about mental health which I think is great.”
“We’ve looked at other revenue streams and have been going out and getting more work. We’re now reviewing our processes thinking about how we can make these changes permanent or at least adapt our ways.”
According to Jack it is also a good time to review suppliers and contracts and where possible renegotiate to make sure you are getting the best deal, as well as looking at your long-term business plans.
Jack said: “The world has changed, and I think those businesses that adapt quickly will be the ones to benefit from the recovery as and when it happens.”
You can watch the Ready for Recovery video via YouTube by clicking here.
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