Hi, it’s Ashley Thomson with an update on COVID-19 business continuity.
In today’s briefing:
1. Staff working at clients’ sites
2. Business and home loan repayments can be deferred for 6 months
3. RBA update – lower rates, more lending
1. Staff on site
We’re talking with our clients about measures to put in place for staff who have to work at clients’ sites.
Firstly, to comply with social distancing requirements (1.5-2 metres), all non-essential team meetings should be put on hold. Any essential team meetings (e.g. toolbox meetings) should be conducted by phone or video conference.
• Reduce the size of crews
• Keep the same people in the same teams
• Limit the number of people getting together for breaks to a maximum of 5 people at any time
This will help in 2 ways: 1) it reduces the risk of exposure and transmission; 2) if one person in a small crew does get sick, it reduces the number of people who have to be quarantined and/or isolated.
Travelling to site
• Regularly clean all work vehicle contact surfaces (steering wheel, door handles both interior and exterior, etc) with disinfectant
• If people have to travel in the same vehicles, keep the windows open and distance seating as much as possible
• Minimise trips to suppliers; opt for delivery if possible, with “no contact drop-off”
Hand sanitiser is hard to come by so equip your team with a backup plan. Each person should have their own go-bag containing soap (liquid soap or a bar of soap in a Ziplock bag), a bottle of water and paper towel or a clean cloth towel.
Working at a client’s site
• Use disinfectant to sanitise work areas and/or fixtures prior to conducting the works. Consider any surface that would come in contact with someone’s hands or mouth.
• If practicable, wear disposable gloves
• Don’t share tools, where possible. Keep your tools separate from other people’s.
• Regularly clean all hand tools, cordless and power tools and any shared tools and equipment with disinfectant
• Maintain any on-site storage areas clean and free from unnecessary clutter. Use disinfectant regularly to sanitise works surfaces
We have drafted a handout of these measures that you can send to your clients. It’s in MS Word so you can change it up however you like. You may want to provide laminated copies for your team to take out on site – Safety Measures at Your Site.
2. Banks allowing loan payment deferrals
Today, the banks announced that they will allow businesses impacted by COVID-19 to have loan repayments deferred for up to 6 months. This offer is available to any small business impacted by COVID-19 and is not restricted to type of business or industry or location.
Most of the major banks have also extended the same offer to mortgage holders and personal borrowers.
If you need this extension, contact your bank now to register your requirement. Expect that they’ll be busy so get in early.
If you don’t already have loans or lines of credit in place, the banks will still need to assess your credit worthiness. Make sure your business financial reports are up to date. This is where a coach could work with you to review your financial model and cash flow protection so that you can forecast your financing requirements.
3. RBA update
Yesterday, 19th March, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced that they have cut the cash rate to 0.25%. The banks are expected to pass the rate onto borrowers, reducing interest rates on loans.
As well as the rate cut, the RBA will provide $90 billion in cheap money to banks on the condition they lend it to struggling businesses at close to zero interest rates. The Federal Government is also lending $15 billion of its own money to enable smaller lenders to continue to lend to consumers and small businesses. This is a significant act to support the Australian economy; the Government took the same action during the global financial crisis.
I want to draw attention to this point in particular: small business lending is front and centre. The RBA is allocating 5 times the amount of funds for small business lending as it is to large business.
I know this week has been challenging. I want to commend you as business owners for keeping your heads in this time of confusion and being the leader your business needs.
We’re here for you.