A common sense approach

June 1, 2020

Scaleup North East partner Angelina Bell looks at how business leaders are protecting people and profits during COVID-19 and explains how Scaleup North can help

As recent weeks have shown, the COVID-19 pandemic is proving to be so much more than just a physical health issue; it’s one that is adding mounting pressure to the economy too, and businesses at large.

Add to that the growing mental health concerns facing business leaders and their employees, it’s created a seismic shock across all industries.

What’s inspiring, however, is the way businesses are adapting and responding with remarkable resolve, empathy and resilience, to navigate the ever-changing landscape we find ourselves in.

As businesses look to protect their finances, one ongoing challenge has been around furloughing staff. How long should employees be furloughed, and which members of staff should be retained in the business? This has led to some employees questioning ‘why me?’

A common sense approach, balanced justification, and open and consistent communication continue to play a vital role in responding to these challenges and aiding overall decision-making. But with the impact of the pandemic affecting each of us in different ways, another concern has been around the mental health of employees. There has never been a more critical time to reach out to others. Open and honest conversations between managers and employees are going a long way to help businesses protect both their current and future workforce.

Finding new routines, adjusting expectations and changing focus to outputs rather than inputs has also been critical to business leadership. With kids in tow and home schooling to contend with, the nine-to-five working day is no longer wholly achievable, and people are requiring flexibility and support in adapting to the ‘new normal’.

Self-care will continue to be a priority for all but with so many business owners navigating new roles and responsibilities, it’s critical they don’t forget to put their own oxygen masks on first.

Taking time to reflect and reassess has never been more important, which is why so many people are taking advantage of the external support networks available in the region. It’s an area that we, at Scaleup North East, are proud to be playing our part in.

Despite the challenges we all face, there are opportunities out there. Instead of allowing companies to hibernate through this time, many individuals are using this period to work on their business; adapting, diversifying, planning and planting the seeds today that will become the green shoots of tomorrow.

This includes scenario planning and forecasting, looking at new market opportunities, and preparing ways to transition staff back into the workforce.

One thing is for sure; despite the challenging times ahead, we are finding new ways to adapt.
As a region famed for its resilience, creativity and grit, we might – at times – feel we are alone, but as a business community, we have never been more together.


RTC North delivers Scaleup North East in partnership with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and North East Growth Hub. Supporting the delivery of the North East Strategic Economic Plan, Scaleup North East is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Designed for ambitious and growing SMEs, the programme has been designed to help business leaders learn from the best of their peers, increase productivity and performance, and invest in transformational activity – resulting in scaleup businesses that grow faster and more sustainably than ever before.
If you are a business owner and are struggling to navigate the current challenges or would simply like more support, please contact the Scaleup North East team.

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