How to Make Your Office COVID-19 Safe

Making Your Office COVID-19 Safe featured image

With essential workers returning to their roles, there has been a call for instructions on how businesses can keep their team safe from COVID-19 on their return. The government released sector-specific guidance about what employers should do to minimise the chances of catching coronavirus at work.

Giving a breakdown of information for those in construction, factories and warehouses, offices, restaurants and shops, vehicles and workers who require access to properties.

Here are the key points to follow if you are making your current office Coronavirus safe.

Complete a Risk Assessment

Every employer is required by law to protect their employees and others from harm, which includes identifying potential hazards. In this case, potential hazards include areas which would be in breach of current social distancing rules. Clear communication is important, so ensure to speak to your team. Most importantly discuss the risks with a chosen health and safety representative chosen by a recognised trade union or chosen by your team.

You cannot decide who the representative will be as an employer. 

You can use a Risk Assessment Template (.Doc Download) to help you keep a simple record of:

  • who might be harmed and how
  • what you’re already doing to control the risks
  • what further action you need to take to control the risks
  • who needs to carry out the action
  • when the action is needed by

An example of an office based business risk assessment can be found here

Reducing the Risk

After completing the assessment you should be able to move onto reducing the risk for the lowest reasonably practicable level. First and foremost ensuring in every workplace an increase in the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning. Keeping 2m apart wherever possible, but if the business cannot continue following these guidelines take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff. This includes: 

  • Increased hand washing and surface cleaning
  • Keeping activity time involved as short as possible
  • Using screens or barriers to separate people
  • Replacing face-to-face contact with back-to-back or side-to-side
  • Reducing the number of people each person comes in contact with

No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.

So if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period-of-time, you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. 

Is Going Back to the Office Necessary? 

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One thing is still clear that if you can work from home you should. But, there are necessary exceptions to the guidelines for those who are needed on site. Such as members of the team with roles critical for business and operational continuity, safe facility management or regulatory requirements.

Of course, it encompasses roles which cannot be performed remotely at all or workers in critical roles without the necessary safe enabling equipment.

When you consider your office you have to plan for the minimum number of people needed onsite to operate safely and effectively.

Whilst monitoring wellbeing for both on-site and off-site team members. Providing the necessary equipment for those working at home. 

The objectives laid out in the guidelines are designed to help protect those who are at a higher risk, people who need to self-isolate and ensure equality in the workplace. 

Daily Operations

In the day-to-day working environment of, course members will be travelling to and from the workplace.

On the commute we should all minimise non-essential travel, limit the number of people travelling together and ensure any shared vehicles are properly cleaned before any handovers. 

Social distancing should be employed wherever possible, as mentioned before this means increasing handwashing measures and limiting face-to-face interactions. Social distancing applies to all parts of a business including entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and communal areas. Some of the important measures listed include:

  • Using safe outside areas for breaks and meetings
  • Implementing floor signage, floor tape or paint to help maintain social distancing
  • Install screens for receptionists and desk workers who can’t be moved further away from each other
  • Avoid Hot Desking
  • Reconfiguration seating and tables to maintain social distancing 
  • Storing personal items and clothing in lockers or containers
  • Staggering break times to reduce overcrowding in break-rooms or canteens
  • Encouraging staff to bring in their own food, 

You can download the Full Guide here. 

Should we all be wearing masks? 

The official guidelines from 11th May state that unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 is very high “Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19”.  Followed by “However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly”.

This means that it is the risk assessment which deems the use of PPE necessary and up to the employer to supply proper protection to the team members if PPE is required. 

The New Normal

Before returning to work your team are going to have a lot of questions moving forwards. They want to ensure that their working environment is safe and you’ve done everything in your power to keep it that way. This is why communication is important.

New safety procedures will be put in place to keep everyone safe, so anyone confused or anxious about coming off the furlough scheme and returning to work needs to have a direct line to voice their concerns.

Companies should ensure that they have communicated to their team the new procedures before their arrival at work. Also any training materials required have been sent prior. 

The virus has had a large impact on the physical and mental health of the public, so clarity, tone of voice and understanding are essential.

Use simple, clear messaging and use frequent signage as a constant reminder of schedule breakdowns etc. To minimise face-to-face communication. 

All business owners should keep up-to-date with the guidelines as they change. The restrictions and procedures are due to change as the virus fluctuates. For up-to-date information go to Gov.Uk.

Ensure to read the full guidelines before moving forwards. As this article is a brief synopsis of returning to work within an office environment. 

Remember to Stay Safe.

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5 Ways You Can Improve Your Content Without Spending Money

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Content Without Spending Money Featured Image

Content is seemingly everything today in marketing and everyone is producing, promoting and praying that their content becomes the golden ticket.  With everyone creating content you have to find a way to stand out. This can come in the form of finding your niche or using the latest technology to stand out. However, if you don’t have thousands to spare it can be tough to create content on your current budget. So, here are 5 ways you can improve your content without resorting to smashing open your piggy bank. 

1. Make the Most out of What You’ve Got

Quality ideas and technique can promote your work more than any high-end camera. If you don’t know how to properly use your equipment, it may as well be anything. A trained chef can make a gourmet meal with little ingredients. But, some of us could barely scratch together a meal with a supermarket at our disposal. The same could be said with studio equipment. Everyone has a smartphone today and each new upgrade comes with a new camera, microphone and editing software. You don’t need the latest Macbook to shoot a short vlog, take a picture or create a podcast. All you need is a way to capture your content and you’re already on your way. 

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2. Don’t follow trends

There is nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other creators. But, everyone can smell a company trying to cash-in on a current trend. These videos have a short shelf life and if you put out your version too late you will be doing more harm than good. Don’t underestimate your audience, they will understand when your message isn’t sincere and you are just trying to cash in on the current trend. That doesn’t mean you can’t participate however, just factor in the timing. Most importantly make sure you understand the trend. There is nothing worse than going in blind and missing the point of the trend entirely. This has harmed countless creators in the past.

3. Take Your Time

Even before sincerity, audiences will know if you’ve rushed something. Content for content sake is just filling up everyone’s newsfeeds and homepages with nuisance images. It is important to keep posting, that’s how you build an audience. But, quickly recording a video and uploading it before reviewing it could lead to some embarrassment. Maybe you forgot to put your washing away whilst vlogging in the garden and now everyone on LinkedIn has seen your choice of underwear? Or maybe your at-home podcast now features sibling fight-night in the background. You should always check your content before posting, especially if you’re trying to convert this content into generating sales. Spelling, accurate web-links and contact information are all essentials to check before giving the green light. 

4. Market yourself correctly

If you post and there is no-one around to see it, have you even posted at all? It will take time to generate an audience, but you have to make sure you are posting the right content on the right platforms. Instagram prefers image-based content, whereas Youtube is predominantly a video streaming platform. An image would work best on Instagram. I know it doesn’t seem like rocket science, but many different marketers will tell you to post everywhere and all the time. The truth is you should post at the peak times for your chosen audience and not post the same content everywhere. Instead, tailor your content to each platform. This could mean creating a video which is 10 minutes long and upload it to Youtube. Then snipping that video down to quick 2-3 minute videos to use for your daily posts on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram feed. Make sure there is still value in these clips and they make sense. But, think carefully about the platform you are using. 

5. Understand your Audience 

If you understand who you are talking to, it becomes a lot easier to convey a message to them. It doesn’t matter what equipment you use when you are speaking their language people will forgive quite a bit of production quality. Relatability can be a huge factor in creating viral content. If you can get inside the head of your audience you will be able to create content that engages them. Which will leave them excited to see your next post. Most of the time when a creator finds their feet and creates a successful running series of work, their audience will be the ones to give them ideas on what to do next. 

A key take away from this article is removing the dependence on equipment and instead, think more about the quality of the content. There are tools which make creation simpler and easier, but that can come later. If you are looking to improve your content today, you just have to take more with it. Learn to use what you have today in order to prepare yourself for the future. 

Still Stuck? We have multiple articles and courses available designed to help you improve your content marketing and digital presence.

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Top 5 Conversation Starters for Linkedin

Top 5 Conversation Starters for Linkedin featured image

When we have a new connection on Linkedin we can get really excited about making a great first impression. Maybe they are a potential new client or a dream business partner we’d love to work with. Whatever your intention it’s important to put your best foot forwards. There is nothing worse than sending the wrong message to a new connection. So, here are 5  top conversation starters for Linkedin. 

  1. The Thank You

There is nothing wrong with thanking someone for connecting with you. A simple “thank you for connecting” can go a long way as it allows them to simply accept the thank you and move forwards or instigate a conversation themselves. There is no pressure to respond and you’ve already touched base. The thank-you should never come with a caveat. Don’t go for the hard sell after a thank you message, as it essentially makes the thank you feel a bit empty. 

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  1. Happy Birthday

This is a once in a year message, but just like the “Thank You” it shows you care more about the person as a person when you wish them a Happy Birthday. People are more likely to discuss things with you when they feel like you both value each other’s time. So a simple birthday message can go a long way in creating that. 

  1. Passing Along Information

Linkedin is primarily a platform for business owners, entrepreneurs and team workers to share, inspire and thrive. Creating your list of connections that can help you as much as you can help them. If you see something which could benefit your connection, drop them a quick tip… 

“I wrote an article I feel would help your business” or “This new change looks important to you so I thought I’d pass it along”. 

Information moves and changes so frequently today it can be impossible to see everything so your connections may appreciate a heads up once and a while in case it’s something they may have overlooked in the past. 

  1. Endorsements  

A simple way to begin a conversation is to endorse your connections. Endorsements will notify your connections and open up a chat window with an option to thank you for your endorsement. A simple, but effective way to find yourself in their mailbox and it grants you the ability to ask what they are currently working on, or if they would like to learn more about your ventures. 

  1. The Call

This is the risky one, which could win you an important conversation or shoot you down. This is simply a straight forward message… 

“Hello John, thanks for being a connection. I’d love to give you a call, are you free on Tuesday?” 

This could leave you with a “No thank you” or a “Sure I’ve got some time”. Either way, you’ve got your answer through one simple message. This usually works better after getting to know your connections and shouldn’t be used straight away if you’re looking for that “Yes”. 

There are a wide variety of methods to get a message to the people you want to talk to, but many can lead to disappointment. If you’re looking for the right way to approach your target audience we offer a wide range of training options which will land you the connections you are looking for. 

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How to Motivate a Remote Worker

how to motivate a remote worker featured image

With Lockdown measures in place many businesses have seen a drastic change in their daily operations. One key change revolves around remote workers and how to get the job done without physically being present in our offices.

We can no longer walk across the room for a project update or ask a simple question without a possible delay. Managing a team of remote workers has its challenges.

Those who haven’t experienced working remotely can find the change jarring and even the best of us are tempted to take a little longer on projects due to home distractions.

So how do you motivate a remote worker?

Communication is key

With different team members scattered across the UK we can all feel like we are on our own islands. When we feel like we are in it alone our morale can take a hit, and the team mindset can fall quite sharply.

Which is why it’s important to keep up regular communication. A team meeting each morning can be a great way for the team to stay in touch and understand their role in things.

Not only that, but it gives everyone a look at how the business is performing. When you need a catch-up don’t rely on email and organise a call for added interaction. 

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Use Milestones 

Many different businesses already use targets and goals to help track the work. Whether it’s something simple like number of sales or something more complex such as performance as a whole.

Obviously for many businesses it’s not going to be business-as-usual, but using the numbers from the past few months we can tailor our new numbers and expectations.

Use milestones, as a pathway back up to the standard you are looking to achieve. 

Inspire New Ideas  

There is no such thing as a bad idea. That phrase was created not because it’s true, but it’s the mindset we should all employ. It’s not just up to the business owners to create new ideas which could potentially save a business. We can all get creative and have our vision of the future. So let your team know that you are open to listen to their ideas. It’s not a sign that you don’t have any of your own, but you’re showing that you value their opinions. Feeling heard is an important part of creating a company culture that is motivated to achieve the best possible results. 

Ensure They Have The Equipment They Need 

There is nothing worse than working on a slow computer with plodding internet speeds. Most of us invest our money in different ways, so not everyone at home will have the same standard of office equipment.

During the first month of UK Lockdown, it was almost impossible to source a decent webcam without paying a large upfront cost.

Ask your team if they have everything they need to work remotely, and if there is a need, ensure they have everything they need.

Just like slow equipment can slow down production, it can slow ourselves down as a result. Removing an unnecessary equipment battle will help your team move forwards. 

We all work differently, and we can see this now more than ever with the current crisis removing ourselves from the normal office environment.

The health of your team is the main priority, but, as we all know, many of us can’t survive without moving forwards.

This could mean ensuring that our team understands their roles, and most importantly feel motivated to move forward, whether that is at home or eventually back into the office.

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Making the Most out of LinkedIn Polls

Some of you may have noticed a new feature being displayed on your LinkedIn Feed as of late. These LinkedIn Polls are designed for business owners to help engage their connections and learn some valuable information from their target audience. But, instead of asking everyone what their favourite breakfast is, we should make the most of this tool to solve some gaps in knowledge we may be facing. 

How Do I Create a Poll? 

LinkedIn Polls feature is currently being rolled out to a select few members with the option becoming more wildly available at a later date. If you have the option available to you, creating a poll can be found on your LinkedIn homepage. If you’re an admin of a LinkedIn Page, or a LinkedIn Group you can also create a poll directly from the page or group’s homepage.

Here are 8 Steps to creating your first poll 

  1. Go to Start a post.
  2. Click Create a poll.
  3. Type your question and fill out the options. Click +Add option if you would like to add another option. 
  4. Select the Poll duration  to determine how long you would like your poll to run for. 
  5. Click Next.
  6. Click the  Edit icon to edit the post and Select who you want to share the poll with.
  7. You can add more to the post in the What do you want to talk about? section
  8. Click Post.
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Things to consider: 

  • There is a minimum of two options and a maximum of four options on a poll
  • Poll Questions have a maximum character limit of 140, with the answers limited to 30 characters
  • A poll can’t be edited once it’s created, only deleted. 
  • You are not allowed to ask for sensitive data, as guided in LinkedIn’s standard terms and conditions

What Should I Poll about? 

First you need to decide what you’d like to learn from your poll. You can poll about just about anything and answers with a list of diverse options would be a great way to create engagement. You have four options to choose from when creating your poll so use each one wisely. In order to make the most out of LinkedIn Polls you’re going to need to use the data you create. Polling about new services you may be looking into, or when people are most likely to use your product would give you some solid information to base a decision on. However, be wary where you post your poll as it could be the defining factor of your results. If you post to a LinkedIn Group dedicated to despising cold-callers a poll about the best time for a caller to reach you would go down like a lead balloon. 

How to make the most of your Poll

There are many different ways to capitalise on LinkedIn’s new feature. You could use the options available to you to create an engagement post on something we all have an opinion about in order to warm up your connections to a message. Each poll response has the potential to become a conversation starter. As we all know a simple conversation has the potential to make or break businesses depending on the outcome. 

Alternatively you could use your poll to gauge whether or not your idea is worth pursuing or if there is an audience for a new service you’d like to offer. Better than running into the dark you can see who would like to pursue your business idea, but be aware you don’t give your competitors any new ideas in the meantime. Instead of outlying your idea with a Yes or No, you could instead ask how people currently solve the issue you’re looking to fix and move forwards from there. 

However you use the new LinkedIn Polls feature, remember that with each new addition to the platform you have a new opportunity to reach new connections and build your business. If you need guidance on any new tools get in contact. 

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What is The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme?

What is The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme? featured image

Every company in the UK has been affected by the Coronavirus and at the end of March 2020 the Government announced the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS). Through the CBILS businesses could access up to £5 million through loans and other financial schemes. 

Is your business eligible? 

To receive the loan your business must: 

  • Be UK based with turnover not exceeding £45 million per annum
  • Have been adversely impacted by coronavirus 
  • not have been classed as a ‘business in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019, if applying to borrow £30,000 or more
  • Have a sound borrowing proposal 

Those not eligible for the loan include: Banks, Insurers and Reinsurers (but not insurance brokers); public sector bodies, further educational establishments if they are grant funded and state funded primary and secondary schools.

There are currently over 40 lenders who are participating in the CBILS. Before going on the hunt you can contact your current bank. Most providers will have their schemes laid out on their respective websites.

What information do you need? 

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You will need to tell the lender how much money you are planning to apply for, and why you need the money. If you are applying for a smaller amount the information you need to provide may not be this extensive. However the guideline suggest your lender may ask for supporting documents such as: 

  • Management accounts
  • Cash flow forecast
  • Business plan
  • Historic accounts
  • Details of assets

You are more likely to succeed with your application if you provide all the information requested and have the ability to prove your worth if it wasn’t for coronavirus affecting your business. 

What happens next? 

After your application is put forwards your lender will come back with their decision. Since it’s implementation loans currently acceptance rate is an average of 53,000 per day. So far, lenders have received 62,674 completed CBILS applications for small and medium-sized enterprises. 

If your application is unsuccessful, the government have also implemented a number of schemes which you may be eligible to apply for.

These include: 

  • A statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all businesses in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief; and
  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

Alternatively, you can use the Bounce Back Loan system which is designed to enable smaller businesses to access finance more quickly during the coronavirus outbreak.

While the government can guarantee 80 per cent of the loan, your business is still 100 percent liable for all of the loan repayments. This means you should be sure that you can repay the debt in the future.

This article is by no means financial advice and you should discuss your finances with an independent trained professional if ever in doubt on how to proceed. 

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Designing a Logo that’s Fit for Purpose

Designing a Logo that’s Fit for Purpose featured image

A logo can be one of the most important investments a company can make. A logo is the company’s visual communication, the link on all of your branding and a great identifier to the public, whether it delivers products or services.

Whether you are designing your logo or briefing a design team, the following should be taken into account to ensure that your logo will help your company stand out from the crowd and enable you to build a successful brand.  

Ask yourself the following questions:-

Who are you?  

What does your business do? 

Who is your target audience?

Think from the perspective of the person/company you are aiming to provide services/products to instead of personal preferences.

What type of logo is right for you? 

Will you be using a typographical logo, iconic logo or a combination of both?

Typographical

When using a typographical logo, try to steer clear of mundane fonts such as Arial or Times.  

Serif fonts give an impression of an established, respectable, trustworthy company. This is perfect for formal industries such as finance, education, law and medical.  The overall appearance of the font is grand which also lends itself to work well for high-end fashion brands.

San serif fonts give an impression of clean, modern and engaging. They have crisp clean lines which do not distract. Ideal for technology, fashion, sport and services.

Script fonts give an impression of elegance, creativity and add a personal touch.  However choosing the correct script font can be tricky as many of these fonts can be difficult to read.  The right script font can work well and can be combined with a san serif to convey modern and personal. Script fonts work well for food and beverage, restaurants and luxury goods.

Iconic

An iconic logo is essentially an emblem that displays your business instead of text, which is easily recognisable and legitimises the product or service.  

In order to design the perfect iconic logo, the following should be taken into consideration.

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Keep it simple.  A cluttered logo with too many elements will distract from your brand instead of enhancing it.  Just remember, even if you think it looks boring, will adding another colour or element enhance the brand message in any way? Think Nike, think Apple. Simple, timeless, EFFECTIVE.

Keep it appropriate.  A logo does not need to demonstrate what the company does, it must work for its use and audience and what they want to convey.  Pepsi is a smiling face not a glass (you are happy that you drank it, Pepsi makes you happy). However the McDonald’s Golden Arch is from their M but it does not show a burger, it is appropriate to the company and it makes it identifiable.

Keep it Versatile.  

Another good reason not to over complicate your logo design is to keep it versatile.  Your logo should be identifiable as a thumbnail or on a billboard (full scalable). Your logo should stand out in black and white as it does in colour.  Your logo should also be flexible enough to be used across all media platforms, think favicons and social media.

Keep it timeless.  Don’t follow design trends or your logo will date.  If you have to update your logo every few years, it is going to lose impact and effectiveness in the marketplace.  Try to design with one dominant colour and a secondary colour if needed.

Combination of both

The iconic method is a brilliant way of ensuring your brand is recognisable across all platforms, however if you are a new business starting out, your logo is not going to mean much if people don’t know who you are.  We therefore suggest that you use a combination of both until your brand is easily identifiable by the icon alone. We all know the Nike swoosh but you would not identify Nike with that swoosh had they not had the combination at first. 

We hope that this article has been helpful.  Many companies do give their branding an overhaul, it may just be the case of simplifying what you have to make your business stand out.

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Don’t take this for Granted – Is your business eligible for a Small Business Grant?

Is your business eligible for a Small Business Grant featured image

On 17 March 2020, the UK government announced a number of relief packages for businesses due to the Coronavirus, Covid-19 pandemic.

Amongst these was the Small Business Grant Fund (SBGF).  Here are a selection of FAQ which give a quick overview on how to obtain a SBGF if your business is eligible.

How are these provided for?

Funding will be supplied to local authorities by central government.  

Which businesses are eligible?

  • Business with a property who were eligible for Small Business Rates Relief (SBRR) on 11 March 2020 (including those with a rateable value between £12,000 and £15,00 which receive tapered relief).
  • Businesses who were eligible for the Rural Rate Relief Scheme (RRS) on 11 March 2020.

Exclusions

  • Properties occupied for personal use.
  • Car parks and parking spaces.
  • Businesses that were in liquidation or dissolved on 11 March 2020.
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Who will receive the funding?

The ratepayer (according to the billing records of the local authority).

How much support will your business be eligible for? 

  • Any business currently in receipt of Small Business Rate Relief will be eligible for a £10,000 grant.

How do you apply?

The local authority will identify eligible businesses and notify them in writing. Most businesses should have been contacted by 4 April 2020.  If your business has not received any correspondence, however you believe your business fits the criteria, contact your local authority.

You can visit your business premises to collect your letter as it is considered a legitimate reason to leave the house. Police have been informed that these letters have been sent out to business addresses.

You should be able to complete your application online. After that, you will be asked for the following information (may vary dependent on local authority):

  • Your Business rates account number
  • Unique Grant reference number from your letter 
  • Your business bank details and an image of your business bank statement or cheque book

PLEASE NOTE:

  • Local authorities will not  cold call you to ask for your bank detail or rate account number on the phone or by email.
  • Do not provide this information to anyone claiming to be from the local authority or acting on behalf of the local authority.

How long before payment is received?

Payments should be made within 10 days of submission, depending on the local authority.

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Source : gov.uk Website  / Local authorities – South West

Furlough – The New F Word

Furlough - The New F Word feautred image

On the 20th March 2020,  Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a government backed Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the form of grants that will cover 80% of salaries for retained workers capped at £2,500 per month.

How does this work?

All non-essential premises have been ordered to close and although there are jobs that can be done remotely, many cannot or there is not enough work.  Employers now have a choice whether to layoff or furlough their workforce that are unable to fulfil their roles due to the this situation.

Layoff versus Furlough?

Laying off employees is permanent and the employee will no longer receive a salary or benefits. They would have to apply for Universal Credit should they be unable to secure new employment.

Furlough is a temporary, employees will remain employed with 80% of their salary covered by the CJRS scheme. They will return to work in the foreseeable future.

Who Can Claim?

The scheme is open to all UK employers that had created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020 and include:

  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Recruitment agencies (agency workers paid through PAYE)
  • Public authorities

Where a company is being taken under the management of an administrator, the administrator will be able to access the Job Retention Scheme.

Public sector organisations or non-public organisations that receive funding for staff costs are not expected to furlough employees.

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What you can claim?

Employers can claim for:-

  • 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month
  • Associated Employer National Insurance contributions
  • Minimum automatic enrollment employer pension contributions on that wage. 

Employers can use this scheme anytime during this period.

Which employees are eligible?

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • flexible or zero-hour contracts employees
  • Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance
  • Employees on sick leave or self-isolating (can be furloughed after isolation period or recovery) The employee is entitle to SSP until such time.
  • Employees who were made redundant since 28 February 2020  (if they are rehired by their employer).

For further information and clarification with regards to maternity pay, click here for more guidance.

The Procedure?

  • Identify and select which employees need to be furloughed.
  • Notify the employee of the decision in writing ( if they refuse – seek guidance as the employees contract may need to be amended). Include date furlough starts, review date and how to stay in contact in your notification.
  • Keep employees on the payroll
  • Make sure the furlough lasts at least 3 weeks.  

Claims must be made via “new portal” which will be available from end April 2020.  

To claim, you will need:

  • Your ePAYE reference number
  • The number of furloughed employees
  • The claim period (start and end date)
  • Amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 weeks)
  • Bank account number and sort code
  • Contact name
  • Your phone number

ONLY ONE CLAIM to be submitted every 3 weeks, which is the minimum length an employee can be furloughed for.

Once claims have been received and granted, funds will be paid into the employers UK bank account.

HMRC will issue more guidance with regard to claims calculations for Employer NI Contributions and pension contributions, before the scheme becomes live.

Claims can be backdated until the 1st of March if applicable.

Tax Treatment

Payments received under the scheme are made to offset these deductible revenue costs. 

Therefore, they must be included as income in the business’s calculation of its taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes, in accordance with normal principles.

Businesses can deduct employment costs as normal when calculating taxable profits for Income Tax and Corporation Tax purposes

Additional information

An employer can top up their employee’s wages with the 20% shortfall.

A furloughed employee may not work for the employer during the furloughed period.  They can undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidelines as long as they are not making money or providing services to their employer.

If the employee undertakes training whilst on furlough, they must receive NLW/NMW even if this is more than the 80% provided by the scheme.

Source: Gov.uk Website / Acas Website

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20 Inspirational Quotes to Get You Through Lockdown

20 Inspirational Quotes to Get You Through Lockdown featured image

As lockdown continues, it’s becoming easier to surround yourself with negativity. 

It’s important to remember that keeping a positive mindset can pull you through the toughest of times and a simple, encouraging quote can have a powerful impact. 

We’ve put together a list of uplifting quotes to help inspire you to shake away those lockdown blues and add a little bit of positivity back into your lives. 


1. “The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.” – Marjorie Pay Hinckley, Author. 

2. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene, Writer. 

3. “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J.Marine, Author. 

4. “Taking care of yourself makes you stronger for everyone in your life… Including you.” – Kelly Rudolph, Life Coach.

5. “You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.” – George Lorimer, Journalist.

6. “You need to spend time crawling alone through shadows to truly appreciate what it is to stand in the sun.” – Shaun Hick, Author.

7. “Life is at its best when everything has fallen out of place, and you decide that you’re going to fight to get them right.” – Thisuri Wanniarachchi, Author. 

8. “We must meet the challenge rather than wish it were not before us.” – William J. Brennan, Judge. 

9. “A sense of humour helps us to get through the dull times, cope with the difficult times, enjoy the good times and manage the scary times.” – Steve Goodier, Author.

10. “A problem is a chance for you to do your best.” – Duke Ellington, Composer. 

11. “Use what you’ve been through as fuel, believe in yourself and be unstoppable!” – Yvonne Pierre, Author. 

12. “Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” –  John Wooden, Basketball Player. 

13. “Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose.” – Dr. Wayne W Dyer, Self-Development Speaker

14. “Much of life isn’t fair. It’s how you live that matters. It’s how you deal with the bumps in the road.” – Maya Banks, Author. 

15. “You don’t have to control your thoughts; you just have to stop letting them control you.” – Dan Millman, World Champion Athlete.

16. “Sometimes you don’t realise your own strength, until you come face to face with your greatest weakness.” – Susan Gale, Artist. 

17. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill, Former British Prime Minister. 

18. “Just be prepared for a long and often uncertain journey. The good stuff doesn’t come easy.” – Tim Westergren, Co-founder of Pandora Radio. 

19. “The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.” – Mark Twain, Writer. 

20. “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” – Bob Marley, Songwriter. 


It’s important to remember that the difficult times and this lockdown won’t last and we can all learn to become stronger so we can build character and gain wisdom. 

Stay inspired and keep moving forward!