And so it happens, NZ finds itself in Alert Level Red.

Perhaps it is because we are all getting used to living with Covid, but it seems that there has been less information for businesses coming out from government agencies this time around. Generally speaking, businesses don’t like uncertainty, and we seem to be heading into a period of greater uncertainty. However, there are some lessons that can be learnt from other countries experiences, so if you haven’t done so already, here are some things to consider:

Working arrangements for staff – the horse has bolted on this one already, but what is your policy around working locations for staff? ‘Office’ staff seems reasonably straightforward, and the guidance has been clear that they should be working from home if it is at all possible. For other staff (or office staff that need to be on premise) what measures can you put in place so that they aren’t intermingling? If you have people working in teams, how can you compartmentalise these teams so that if one person is Covid Positive, it doesn’t force the rest of your people to self-isolate?

On the subject of people, hopefully you have clear processes for dealing with customers/suppliers under the traffic light framework (if not, make this a priority!) There is some info about this available here.

There is ample evidence from overseas that supply chains have been stretched beyond breaking point as a result of Covid getting into workplaces. It would be naive to think that this won’t happen here. Without rushing out to hoard toilet paper… what supplies/materials are essential to your business, and can you do anything to minimise the disruption to this supply chain?

Both the modelling and the evidence from overseas suggests that a significant number of people are going to end up needing to stay home at some point. What can you put in place to manage these absences? If you’re not sure of your responsibilities as an employer, check out this link.

When NZ moved to the alert level framework (and Auckland moved out of lockdown), the government stated that this was the end of direct financial support for business. Put another way, no more Wage Subsidy or Resurgence Support Payment, and this hasn’t been revisited as of yet. However, there is still support for staff who have to be absent from work for a Covid test or to self-isolate. You can find out about these here.

The effects of this round of Covid might mean that some businesses find themselves in a tougher position. If you have any concerns about your financial position, please contact us.

Finally, and this is the biggie: you. Yes, you. Depending on how this plays out, it may well be a stressful few months. We urge you to plan as best as you can, but should Omicron become established in NZ, accept that it is likely that there will be a number of bumps in the road for businesses. And this will likely take a toll. Xero has wellbeing support here. There is also wellbeing support available for Auckland based businesses via Activate Tamaki Makaurau, check it out here. If you are feeling overwhelmed, we urge you to reach out!

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