Lockdown: How businesses can use the time effectively
Following a week of crisis, which has seen many businesses furlough their employees, employers and business leaders are now navigating their way through the new ‘normal.’
While much time has been given over to helping remaining employees stay engaged and productive while working from home, employers should now consider themselves and use the hiatus to reflect on their own careers, and sharpen their professional edge.
The government has stressed the need for people to stay healthy and, consequently, it appears many people are taking full advantage of their daily exercise allowance. However, we all need to be mindful that we remain mentally challenged too, while keeping our businesses healthy. From taking the time to consider what might be missing from our careers, to focusing on key areas to upskill and even re-train.
Learning and development is one area that people often neglect while deep in their day job, but this is an ideal use of the unexpected time we have and there are a wide range of online training programs available. The same message should be passed onto employees, furloughed or not. Investing in people’s development via online learning not only ensures they have the relevant skills required when they return to work, or to help them as they work from home – such as time management, communication and goal setting, it also shows them that they are valued, gives them a focus apart from the current crisis and potentially staves off depression and helps create stimulation.
There are cost effective online tools available enabling a group of people within an organisation to create a virtual classroom while being trained by world class trainers. The Red Thread Partnership offers a range of online learning programmes, including its ‘World Class SME’ course. Specifically aimed at small or medium sized enterprises– which make up a vast portion of Milton Keynes businesses - looking to hone core business skills.
Freddie Guilmard, MD of The Red Thread Partnership and MKBLP Board Director, is now offering special, discounted course rates to businesses during this challenging time: “Used wisely, this time could help create the future of many businesses and put them in great shape.”
As the lockdown proceeds, people will increasingly feel disconnected and while it is essential, for those who can, to stay connected through work, it is also important to connect with those outside of work and create a purpose. From local communities, joining WhatsApp groups to help vulnerable members of society, to reconnecting with people and nurturing new hobbies.
As we look to returning to normal over the coming weeks and months, it is important to accept that this new normality may manifest itself differently. Talent may be spread across industries with many furloughed staff picking up alternative roles in the national efforts to flatten the curve, while employees working from home may become aware of their newfound agility and demand greater flexibility in their roles. There may also be increased anxiety as people begin to socially interact again. Whatever the outcome, it is vital that business leaders stay connected and maintain physical and mental health and equip themselves with new skills which will help them make a successful return.