I have had the pleasure of helping over 40 businesses in the past three weeks with my business surgeries.

Listening to business owners about how they are dealing with their business issues, I have been impressed with the resilience shown:

  • many of them are not earning the fortunes people believe them to be, 
  • few of them will benefit from Furloughing and 
  • Almost all of them carry some form of Personal Guarantee with their Bank or other funders as they have committed to build their businesses for the future. 

I ask you to spare a thought for the Business owners, the majority of them SME’s in this country that are working 24/7 to protect their business futures and your jobs. 

EVERY Business owner I have worked with has their first priority to secure where they can the future of their staff – where staff are furloughed, MOST are topping up the salaries to 100%, often at personal cost and taking on further duties themselves to support the business and its future.

Yes, for some there will be rewards in the future, but certainly not all and for many their efforts and exhaustion will go without reward or indeed thanks if their businesses fail. Spare a thought for business owners; it is a very lonely place. I know, I have been there more than once!

Now is the time to be FLEXIBLE – if you are not, there may not be a business for you to return too. 

Therefore, what does flexibility and indeed caring look like?

  1. Speak to your employer and check THEYare OK. Many are doing lots to ensure the well-being of employees – pick up the phone and check the BOSS is ok
  2. If an employer wants you take annual leave whilst you are being furloughed, which they are perfectly in their rights to request you do – accept that and work with it. Is it really helping the business to return after 3 months ‘off’ and then go on annual leave for 2 weeks? Businesses will need to be operating in 5th gear when all of this is gone, everyone will need to pull together e.g.: Just think, you won’t be able to get a restaurant reservation after this is over, the owner won’t want you off on leave when they need to serve clients and they have furloughed you and ‘topped’ you up for the past three months
  3. It’s frankly greedy to be furloughed from a full time job on 100% or even 80% of pay and then go and get another job – you are also exposing the business and your BOSS to the almost certainty of your furlough pay being recovered by HMRC – Just Don’t do it!
  4. Furlough is for 3-week periods and you may be called back in, even though you are on 100% of your pay. Accept it with a smile and muck in to help the business. I have been shocked by staff who have not been furloughed, requesting to be furloughed because their colleague has. You have not been furloughed because YOUR BUSINESS NEEDSyou for its survival. 
  5. Make good use of your time and volunteer for the NHS volunteers programme
  6. Learn new skills, which you can apply back in your work place when you return. You could even ask your employer what skills gaps there are in the business, go, and learn those skills whilst you are furloughed.

COVID-19 has seen real community spirit, our NHS staff going the extra 100 miles to care for us and in many cases really save our lives. 

As employees, we can do our part. Work with your employers. Those that show flexibility will ensure their employment survives and the businesses they work with thrive. 

Support your employers and Bosses and check they are OK as they fight to preserve your jobs. 

Peter Marples, Co-Founder, Promote-Ed

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