Weekly Digest – 29 July 2020

Hello again – welcome to the latest edition of our Weekly Digest. Read on for this week’s update.

Exemptions From Managed Isolation

A small number of people may be eligible for an exemption from the required 14-day managed isolation for people entering New Zealand, such as those with serious medical conditions that cannot be managed in the accommodation provided.

The following are the general rules for those granted an exceptional circumstance release:

  • Must still complete 7 days in managed isolation
  • Have a negative COVID-19 test on or around day 3
  • Full health assessment before leaving

No exemption will be possible if you have shown symptoms during your stay in managed isolation and have been moved to a quarantine hotel. More information and details on how to apply can be found here.

How is NZ doing?

Although it seems like small businesses are at the center of the storm COVID-19 has caused, ANZ’s Business Outlook survey shows business confidence has been lifting steadily in the last few months. The preliminary data for July also shows New Zealand is in an enviable position on the global stage and business activity is largely back to normal, as demonstrated by traffic and spending data. However, there’s a large economic hole surrounding tourism and when coupled with the global outlook and the unknown future, there are still some causes for concern. But for now, businesses and individuals are back on track with their economic side which is helping business’ sheets across the country.

Business Optimism

McKinsey & Company’s ongoing research shows that business optimism is increasing. While the business world is plagued with uncertainty at the moment, most sectors are confident consumer demand will return, and have made changes and improvements to adapt in the meantime. This data shows what we all probably know – entrepreneurs tend to be optimists by nature, willing to take risks and are open to change.

Small businesses don’t often have resources or profit margins of large companies to stay afloat and weather economic crises. What they do have is the agility to pivot and adapt when these problems come up. A positive mindset and willingness to adapt well get you far – well done to all for weathering the storm so far.

If you need help in navigating through these uncertain times or mapping out a post-pandemic strategy, reach out to us so we can work out a plan.

Technology tools when working from home

While telecommuting has become more common in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly shifted the landscape into one that demands flexibility and employee autonomy. As companies transition their workforce from on-site to remote or a hybrid of the two, the office of the future might be in your home.

This Forbes article shares valuable tools to help smooth over some common challenges when remote working, as well as boost your efficiency and productivity.

You might want to check out some of the following tools they recommend:

Chat Apps

  • WhatsApp
  • Slack
  • Signal

Video Conferencing

  • Zoom
  • GoToMeeting
  • Skype
  • Google Hangouts

Productivity Apps

  • Trello
  • Asana
  • Basecamp Business
  • Box, Dropbox Business, and Google Drive
  • DocuSign and HelloSign
  • Notarize.com

Additionally, it is important to establish work-from-home protocols and communication best practices for your staff. You’ll want to set clear expectations and boundaries in terms of workday schedules, rethinking urgency and giving prompt replies, as well as doubling down on the grace in the event of unexpected work disruptions. If you need some guidance to keep your business moving through the crisis and beyond, get in touch with us so we can provide personalised advice.

Connecting Employers with People Looking for Work

If you’re looking for great talent – there’s no better time than right now! With many skilled workers out of a job, you may want to keep your eyes peeled for new hires.

If you need help hiring new employees, Work and Income offers free recruitment services. You can advertise jobs for free and easily access work-ready people with skills to suit all kinds of jobs. You can also talk to them about tailoring a recruitment plan to meet your business needs.

Mentoring Scheme for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses

The Economic Development and Small Business Minister announced a further $40 million for the Regional Business Partner Network, on top of the $15 million invested since March.

The Regional Business Partner Network gives business owners access to advice and resources on business continuity planning, finance and cashflow management, HR issues, and sector-specific concerns amid the COVID-19 crisis. You can find more details in this article from Treasury.

If you’re looking for ways to adapt your business, get in touch with us.

Government Loan Applications Extended

The government is offering one-off loans to small businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time employees, sole traders, and self-employed individuals, that have been affected by COVID-19 to support their cashflow needs.

The Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme means you can get financial assistance of up to $100,000 and an additional $1800 per equivalent full-time employee. Repayments are not required for the first two years, but if the loan is paid back within a year, there will be no interest.

The government has extended this loan until the end of the year. For those who haven’t applied for this government loan yet, you can check your eligibility here or you can get in touch with us so we can assist you with your application.

Application for Wage Subsidy Extension Still Ongoing

Applications for the Wage Subsidy Extension are open until 1 September 2020. This initiative is aimed at supporting employers, including the self-employed, who have been significantly hit by COVID-19. Under this scheme, the wages of your employees will be covered over an 8-week period.

To be eligible for this financial support, your business must have had at least a 40% revenue loss for a continuous 30-day period in the last 40 days before the application. Eligible employers must also reapply for the Wage Subsidy Extension once their 12-week Wage Subsidy has ended. You can read through the guidelines and apply online here. If you have any questions about this government program, contact us.

Beware of Scams Related to COVID-19

Scammers are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to con people into giving their money or confidential personal information. Here are some of the Covid-19 scams to look out for:

  • Scams offering COVID-19 testing, vaccine, or cure
  • Fake charities
  • “Person in need” scams
  • Scams targeting Social Security benefits

While the reason behind the fraud is new, the tactics are familiar. The best defence is to say No if anyone contacts you asking for your bank account information, credit card details, or driver’s licence number; someone you don’t know requests money through payment app or pre-paid gift cards; someone you don’t know sends you a cheque for some reason and asks you to send a portion back; or simply your gut tells you that it is too good to be true or it doesn’t feel right.

Contact Tracing

Everyone is encouraged to keep track of who you’ve seen and where you’ve been through the COVID Tracer app in order to assist with contact tracing if necessary. As of 14 July, the app has had 595,400 registrations and the next update to the app will be released at the end of this month to make it a more comprehensive contact tracing tool and increase the number of people who can use it.

You can help customers in maintaining their “digital diary” by displaying a QR code poster at your premises.

Get in touch

Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.