Covid-19 has shone the light on lots of cracks, many which have been there for a long time but somewhat covered up or perhaps time just makes them easier to ignore. Loneliness, health inequality, race inequality, food inequality, gender inequality, just to name a few. People who have been worst affected by the virus are generally those who had worse health outcomes before the pandemic. The scandal is not that the virus has disproportionately affected certain groups, but that it has taken a global pandemic to shine a light on deeply entrenched inequalities.
Before you slump further down in your seat, I am aware that we don’t need to pile on more fear and despair, so, at this moment how best can we take in the lessons and make real positive changes? If we don’t make a real shift, we will perpetuate a sense of helplessness at best and more of the same inequalities at worst. Our broken systems have been highlighted and the value of community has never been more obvious than right now. Holding our values higher and stronger than ever feels like one way forward.
So what does that look like for me? I sometimes worry I am a broken record, but every time I tackle a big question like this one and have an ah-ha moment, the answer is undoubtably simple; finding community. This is a unique opportunity to reshape our world views; one that puts people first. We have a chance to reflect on our choices and how they impact on others and the world. Current times could give people a chance to unleash creativity, which in turn could help lead us to live our best lives.
For now, I am going to take the moment to rethink and adapt the present to reshape our future. When thinking of this time as a fortuity, it feels less scary and more like building resilience.
I would love to hear your thoughts and how you have grown through this crisis.
by Dani Trudeau
by Dani Trudeau
I have not yet found my new normal. A huge part of me is still resisting the realities of what is happening right now and the worries of all of the what ifs are taking up a huge amount of my band width. Plus I have not been well (no fever but a bad cough…) so my coping abilities are limited even further.As I have not been well since July really (non COVID related obviously), I appreciate good health more than ever. It really is everything and without it, resilience is difficult at best and any enjoyment is compromised. We must do all that we can to stay well and isolated. Staying physically distanced is only going to get harder with time so we must remember the importance of staying at home. Hopefully we can all find a peaceful new isolated norm which is after all, temporary.
There have also been some real moments of beauty. We had a lovely zoom social lunch and will run them twice weekly (members can check out the link on the closed facebook group). And all of the kind feedback has meant so much, thank you. Here are two quotes from members;
“Tribe Porty has changed my life for the better in so many unexpected ways. I’ll always be grateful to you for the very inspiring, often invisible and challenging, work you do to support us.”
“I’d like to support Tribe as you’ve literally been the best thing for me since moving to Edinburgh, even though I’ve hardly been here! Thank you for that and for creating such a wonderful community.”
Thanks all, you really are a great group of humans and we will get through this together.
by Dani Trudeau
The real test of your character comes out when times are hard. This can be the worst and the best in humanity. I think we are all well aware of the negative actions of some so we are focusing on the positive and practical. We are reaching out to our incredible network, exploring solutions, pulling together and checking in on one another. Please get in touch if you need help with anything (micro to macro) or if you have some good ideas you need help implementing or sharing.
As we are mostly made up of freelancers, we need to look that ball of anxiety in the face and then find solutions, one challenge at a time. Not only do we need to navigate potential financial difficulties, we have to think about how to be at home with our children and other working from home housemates. Furthermore, we need to protect our mental wellbeing and we think this is where community is really put to the test and is at its best.
We have some good practical considerations below from our pals at Senscot Legal and Macdonald Henderson.
1) HMRC- If you have Corporation Tax, Personal Tax, VAT and PAYE liabilities, then you could approach HMRC to delay payments for them – they may be willing to negotiate a payment plan.
2) Suppliers-You may wish to approach your suppliers to extend credit terms.
3) Customers-Can you approach customers if you currently have credit terms, can you ask them to pay quicker?
4) Loans/ Bank overdrafts- If you currently have outstanding loans, would you be able to negotiate a payment holiday? Do you have an overdraft facility with your bank, and can you increase it in the short term? (From experience, the telephone waiting times are long so get a book or podcast going in the background).
Please remember, for the 4 points detailed above, you must ensure that you have an agreement with the relevant parties that you are planning to defer payment. In the case of customers, propose more favourable terms. Be aware that if you do not negotiate an agreement, it could result in a breach of contract.
Your staff-The closest business relationship you have is with your staff. But hard decisions will have to be made if you are looking at a downturn in revenue. You may have to consider a reduction in staff pay to see you through the coming weeks.
The impact will depend on what you consider will be the revenue reduction. You may even have to ask staff to reduce their hours in line with the revenue reduction.
If the outlook becomes bleaker, redundancies may have to be considered. But remember, you will have to factor in redundancy payments.
Where can you find further help? -Both the UK and Scottish Governments have published a set of measures to help a business through the inevitable downturn.
The Scottish Government set up a dedicated advice helpline – 0300 303 0660 and introduced a set of supportive measures:
The UK Government has also announced measures to alleviate the effects of COVID-19
Here are a couple of Government web sites that are well worth a look.
Government Support for Employees and Benefit Claimants
Coronavirus Guidance for employees and employers
Government guidance to employers and businesses
Please remember keeping an open dialogue with suppliers, customers, staff and HMRC is key to building positive working relationships and managing your business through difficult times.