Don’t panic … not yet anyway
UPDATE: We will have a new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, and she takes over the role on 6th September. It’s being reported that she will quickly announce plans that may include freezing energy bills, although that’s only speculation and there are no details about how that might affect businesses. We’ll have more information as things develop.
Wear a jumper, turn radiators off, eat cold food and challenge your electric bills – there are lots of tips flying around, but frankly we’re all waiting to see if the Government (whoever that is) takes any actions before panicking.
Waiting means worrying. Business owners are facing massive increases in energy bills and some of the organisations we work with are also predicting customers will spend less – and fundraising for charities might drop.
In 2020 the furlough and various Covid business loan schemes were rolled out quickly. We might see similar initiatives, because lack of action might result in the kind of economic tsunami we haven’t seen in previous, even extremely harsh, recessions. Energy bills affect everyone, after all.
We always encourage people to have a Plan B. Inevitably people are already thinking about what they can stop spending money on, or sell, since the bad news about massive increase in energy prices was confirmed.
If you’re running a business and especially if you have either high energy bills already (any workplace apart from offices really) and/or rely on people spending money with you for leisure, tourism or food and drink: don’t panic, but maybe try to put together a “worst case scenario” plan for changing what you can do, downsizing or anything else.
As examples, we know:
- a boutique hotel considering only opening for weekends and busier times of the year
- an agency looking at shutting its office on 2-3 days a week (using hybrid working but mandating the days for office or remote working to control energy use)
- “we give up” – firms that just can’t see a way to keep going for long, unless something changes.
If you’re renting an office: check if your contract has a clause about reviewing and increasing costs – we’ve already had this experience with a London firm now facing a significant rent rise.
As an employer, remember your employees are also worrying about their bills increasing – so any hints or discussions about your firm’s survival is going to be amplified by their own concerns. Be tactful, be practical and just don’t make things worse.
As things develop, we’ll quickly share thoughts about what any actions mean, how they might affect you and what you can do. We’ll have a new Prime Minister on 6th September and she or he might do something that changes your situation.