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Staffing in a post lock down world.

Our Managing Director Antony Woodcock has been looking ahead to the next few months and on what an easing of lockdown looks like for business and staffing.

There is no doubt that Covid-19 has hit the world hard, it’s caught us off guard and left many of us helpless to its ramifications.

In a single month it has shaken the UK, nay the global economy and changed the way we will have to live and work for months and potentially years to come. Businesses are being forced to close temporarily and sadly in many cases permanently, many are loosing their jobs and their livelihoods and this according to the “experts” is just the beginning.

“Unemployment could hit an all time high of just below 9% due to lockdown” – Yael Selfin, Chief Economist KPMG.

Ministers are grappling daily with the balancing act that is public health vs economic recovery. As of yet we know little of when and how lockdown will ease or end but we do know that whatever happens it's likely to happen slowly. Sadly for those of us who operate in hospitality & events we will likely be the last to get back to some semblance of normality. Our bars, restaurants, hotels and stadiums that were once a safe space to socialise, relax and be entertained are now seen as breeding grounds for the corona virus. 

“66% of restaurants said they would not survive another 3 months of lockdown” – KAM Media

No matter how long it might take, recovery WILL come and businesses across all sectors will be able to open their doors once more, but is the end of lockdown really the end of this ordeal for business owners and operators. Reopening our doors means reopening our chequebooks and as cautious consumers continue to shun crowded places and the economy eke's back to normal starting small and potentially back at the begging may be the only option if not the smart option for many.

What does all this mean for staffing? Well of course most operators will rightly be trying their best to retain their pre lock down workforce and get them back to work as quickly and safely as possible but it would be naïve to suggest that financially this is going to be possible across the board, unless the government run furlough scheme continues indefinitely.

With an ever changing business landscape, in this case daily, is there now a greater call and more importantly need for flexibility. With demand now an unknown entity and the inability to properly forecast peaks and troughs does risk free, flexibly staffing become the much needed restarter crutch for many businesses just hoping to find their feet again.

“75% of hospitality businesses are planning to increase the use of temporary staff over the next 3-6 months” – HR DataHub

The priority both ethically and economically should be to get as many people back into regular work as possible but in order to do this businesses must first find a way to get back on their feet and ensure that financially they put themselves in the best possible position to ensure long term survival.

Much like the government many businesses face a balancing act over the months to come. Using an element of flexible labour within an overall staffing strategy will help businesses even out the scales.

Antony Woodcock


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