It has been some time since we entered the Covid 19 abyss, three solid months.
As we start to see pea-shoots of a new normal rising, the impact of coronavirus on directors, their businesses and workforces, in the main, is severe. Most business life relies on shared workplaces, public transport, meetings and events, yet all of these things are now viewed in the context of risk.
We will recover from this invisible enemy but how will our lives change as a result? Whilst we await the dawn of a new V-Day (Vaccination Day), I believe there are both positive and negative implications, particularly as V-Day may never occur due to mutation and other invisible enemies might follow.
In the short term there will undoubtedly be pain. Our latest IoD survey revealed that a quarter of those businesses surveyed who are using the Job Retention Scheme will struggle to contribute to furloughed workers’ salaries from August.
As far back as the First Industrial Revolution, during the month of August, businesses across the North would decamp to local beachside resorts. Back then, we would share summer together whilst our factories would close and be maintained, ready for the 11 months that followed.
However, the population of England, Scotland and Wales in the 1801 Census was 10.5 million. One hundred years later, the figure for the UK including Ireland was 41 million and today we have some 68 million.
Here in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, many firms continue to reduce their service during the summer months, allowing the time for family, holidays, planning and preparation for the latter part of the year.
Whilst we are already seeing a good proportion of our population taking to the those beaches as overseas trips are postponed or cancelled, many of us are wondering if all the pollution from flights, cruises and vehicles actually contributed to all of our seasons becoming one. An even greater challenge that we all face as a business community.
As I write, it is estimated that up to 11 million people could join the government’s furlough scheme, a figure which is rising daily. This scheme is available to see us through to October with employer contributions creeping in from August.
This could be enough to push forward very difficult decisions for many employers before then as our economy remains in a new form of deadlock.
We continue to lobby government on behalf of our members through our Policy Voice programme, and we are delighted to have a growing team of Ambassadors across Yorkshire to ensure that your voice is heard in the virtual rooms of parliament, including well-known faces Rashmi Dube and Andrew Palmer.
We have had a number of Policy Voice wins too. We played a key role in securing financial assistance for wage bills and changes to insolvency rules.
We will continue to lobby on behalf of our members to ensure that businesses get the supportive environment they need to bounce back and build a better economy, perhaps one which is much greener too.
The IoD truly believes that better directors build a better world.
As lockdown eases and the longer term vision becomes clearer, we will be with you as a force for good to foster a climate favourable to entrepreneurial activity and wealth creation, allowing us to prosper together on a more level playing field as we innovate our way through to the other side of this global pandemic.
• The deadline for the Director of the Year Awards Yorkshire and North East 2020 has been extended to 26 June. Visit https://www.iodawards.com/yorks-northeast
• Visit the IoD Coronavirus Support Hub https://www.iod.com/iod-coronavirus-support-hub