Could this lockdown be an opportunity for growth? Plus, is anywhere really ‘closed’?
The inevitable has happened again. England has been plunged into another lockdown, lasting (hopefully) for just 4 weeks, until the 2nd December.
As expected, this has caused immense disruption to businesses and venues that had just figured out their new normal since the summer. As a result of the lockdown, the vast majority of non-essential businesses must close. This impacts: the hospitality and food sector, retail sector, transport sector, leisure, community and worship facilities and entertainment and tourism sectors.
A full list of venues that must close can be found here.
NotLost stands in solidarity with businesses impacted by COVID-19, appreciating what a difficult time this is. What’s more, the run-up to Christmas is often one of the busiest and therefore most important times for a lot of businesses. The team are hopeful that December will still offer venues an opportunity to open and thrive once more.
‘Closed’ doesn’t mean everything stops
However, just because these places are closed does not mean they stop. Through the Government’s furlough scheme, many employers are able to have staff work reduced hours to keep their business functioning.
Venues must be maintained
Firstly, hotels, clothing shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms and more must be maintained.
The premises must still be taken care of and it’s highly likely that certain members of the team will still be on-site for many reasons. For example, cleaners, receptionists, facilities management staff or security are still essential in many businesses.
As a result, this is an ideal time for organisations to get their operations in order. Whether this is to get more PPE ready for after the lockdown, preparing for the festive period, re-doing budgets or perhaps finding new software that will make life easier when the business is open again. This could be a new digital system that replaces a traditional one, such as a new lost property software.
Most notably, hotels could really benefit from taking this quieter time to reflect on their current processes and try something new. Explore how leading luxury hotel Hyatt Regency London – The Chruchill introduced an innovtive new lost property system to upgrade customer experience.
Not all venues are 100% closed
Secondly, there are many exceptions to the rules whereby certain places can actually remain open.
- Accommodation is still required. Hotels can be open to those that need it, such as individuals on essential business, visitors, elite athletes or those moving house to name a few.
- Visitor attractions that still have outdoor elements (as long as they are not zoos or farms) can still remain open. Many gardens in stately homes or outside areas of English Heritage sites, for example, can remain open.
- Cafes, restaurants and any other food/drink provider can do takeaways, delivery via click and collect or drive-through!
- Retail shops have made the move online, offering delivery (where possible).
- Schools, colleges, universities and any education facility are all open.
- Gyms, fitness and leisure centres and swimming pools can remain open for schools and colleges to use. Plus, many are offering virtual classes and sessions which require staff to be working.
- Community facilities can also be open for essential voluntary and public services, education and support groups.
- Offices can still remain open, although we are urged to work from home.
As a result, many places will still have some footfall that requires extra careful management.
However, it’s clear that many have no choice but to innovate, and fast. Offering delivery, takeaway, online or virtual services has been the reality of 2020.
Essential businesses remain open
Of course, essential businesses are still very much open despite the lockdown. In fact, storage and distribution (delivery, post or collection) could be at their peak soon. Read more about this in our previous blog: Why courier companies must prepare for the most demanding Christmas period yet.
Plus, airports and other transport operators are still business as usual, ensuring passengers can travel around the world safely.
The lockdown could be an opportunity
Overall, it’s clear that the majority of organisations will be running at reduced velocity. However, this lockdown could offer the unique opportunity to push more innovation and organisation. We’re being forced to adapt and learn in a new environment. Get on top of your procedures and operations so that once the lockdown is over your business can thrive.