The Covid-19 outbreak is having a huge effect on day-to-day business for every working industry. Retailers and restaurants are switching focus to takeaway and delivery.1 Banks and other office-based companies are being forced to adapt to remote working.2 And supermarkets and pharmacies are seeing huge increases in demand, all while trying to keep their customers and employees safe.3
Businesses of all shapes and sizes are facing new and unprecedented challenges. But what does this mean when it comes to how you manage your business?
We’ve created some useful guidelines to help you manage any new risks your business might be facing.
Cyber-security and remote working
With such a huge increase in people working from home, businesses need to ensure they have the right cyber-security measures in place.
Action Fraud has already reported an increase in online scams. This includes generic phishing and ransomware scams, as well as Covid-19-related fraud.4
Businesses should work to implement security measures for all remote staff in order to minimise the risk of cyber threats.
Here are some simple measures you can take to help protect your business:
- Set up a secure VPN server
- Install two-factor authentication (2FA) on all company devices
- Only share files through a trusted platform
- Educate employees to recognise scam emails.
Read more about managing cyber-security during Covid-19.
Police are warning of criminals using government and charity branding to trick people into sharing sensitive data. This includes the use of HMRC branding to make false offers of financial support through unsolicited emails, phone calls and text messages.5
Businesses are being encouraged to put processes in place to check all enquiries like this for validity before responding. Never click on links or attachment in emails from unknown sources, and never respond to messages asking you to disclose personal or financial details over phone or email.
Action Fraud saw a 400% increase in Covid-19-related fraud reports in March, with collective losses amounting to nearly £970k.6
If you have fallen victim to cyber-crime, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040, or visit their website.
Employers’ liability outside the workplace
Businesses who are otherwise closed may choose to allow their staff to volunteer in the community. In some cases, this may even involve loaning out company vehicles such as vans or coaches, allowing for staff to drop off goods to the elderly, or provide travel for key workers.
While this is a noble cause for businesses, it could also put employers at risk of invalidating their insurance policies. If an accident or injury were to occur during work hours, or involving a company vehicle, employers could find themselves liable for any claims made against them.
If employers wish to allow their staff to work beyond their usual roles, they must first check that their existing liability policy covers them.
Changes in business activities
In response to Covid-19 restrictions, businesses may be looking to diversify, changing their service model or moving to new product development to meet products in higher demand.
Whether you’re an eat-in restaurant looking to offer takeaway services, or a brewery moving to produce alcoholic sanitiser, you will need to inform your insurer of any new business directions to make sure your cover remains valid.
Find out more about coronavirus and business insurance.
With so much uncertainty, your employees are likely to feel more pressured than usual. It’s important to help your staff manage their mental health and wellbeing through this difficult time.
Workplace stress can lead to loss of morale and reduced productivity, as well as increases in absence and sickness levels.7 Supporting your employees to manage their wellbeing at home should be an important part of your resilience strategy.
Encouraging your staff to retain healthy routines while working from home is a great way to actively support wellbeing through these uncertain times. Here are a few healthy working habits that can make a real difference:8
- Set a designated work area to help separate from work from home-life
- Keep regular communications such as virtual meetings, emails and phone calls, to ensure your employees still feel connected
- Get dressed in your usual office attire to help you stay productive
- Avoid distractions such as television and social media while in office hours. This can help separate work and home routines
- Take breaks as you usually would in office hours
- Use our wellbeing guide to help you stay on top of your mental wellbeing.
Read more about work-related stress and how to manage it.
Guidance around employment law during the Covid-19 outbreak is being continually updated by the Government.
It’s important to stay aware of changing guidelines and working practices to help your business operations run as smoothly as possible. Keep updated through the Government website or contact your insurer for specific concerns surrounding employment law.
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