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Back to the future

With the COVID-19 lockdown regulations easing, business owners are focused on making offices, shops, factories and construction sites as safe as possible.

From establishing a risk assessment process to carrying out a deep-clean, businesses must consider several factors in transitioning their employees back onto their premises to support their physical, mental and emotional well-being. This will require investment in protective screens, sanitising stations and other health and safety equipment. In addition, implementing modern technology is proving to be vital to facilitate a safe return to the workplace. 

Adapting to the ‘new normal’

Thermal imaging cameras, or fever-screening solutions, measure how much heat people emit relative to their surroundings. By positioning the cameras at the entrance of a workplace they can be used to identify employees and visitors who are experiencing raised temperatures – one of the key symptoms of COVID-19. This technology is particularly relevant to businesses with large numbers of employees or visitors to their premises. 

Businesses in specific sectors are beginning to transition on-site skeleton staff back into the workplace environment. In particular manufacturing and construction workers, many of whom stayed home throughout the lockdown, were actively encouraged by the government to return.

Embedding proximity sensors into workwear, such as high-vis jackets, can be used to detect whether social distancing rules are being compromised. If one sensor detects another within the recommended two-metre distance range, an alarm will sound to alert an employer that an area is potentially overcrowded. 

Balancing the cost of investments 

Purchasing new assets are likely to be vital to ensuring the safety and ongoing recovery of an organisation. But this can be cost prohibitive if they elect to pay for all new investments upfront in one lump sum. Utilising high street bank overdrafts or credit cards can also have a detrimental impact by tying up a firm’s working capital. 

Flexible asset finance from alternative finance providers can help businesses to spread the cost of new investments to adapt to the ‘new normal’, without them having to dip into vital cash reserves.

There are two common types of asset finance – leasing and hire purchase. With leasing agreements, a finance provider would buy and own the equipment on a company’s behalf where they would then effectively rent its use over a predetermined period, usually at a fixed interest rate. Alternatively, if firms want to buy and own their next piece of equipment but avoid the cash flow impact of an outright purchase, they could opt for hire purchase.

Tailored asset finance solutions can cover all kinds of investment including IT hardware and software, business and office equipment, plant and machinery, premise refurbishments and office relocations.

By electing to pay over time (typically from one to five years), businesses can benefit from having greater flexibility and control over their finances without compromising their existing banking lines. Customised finance plans also allow them to gain access to the equipment and assets they need to flourish, without being constrained by a large upfront price tag.

When applying for finance, include a brief description of the asset and what it will be used for. Providing softer details, such as highlighting your firm’s strategic aims and how the asset or equipment will support your growth, will enable lenders to reach a swift decision on credit approval.

Planning for the future

With the right preparations, you will be in a strong position to navigate the ‘new normal’ to get your business up and running quickly. Specialist finance providers are here to support you and realise that with the disruptions you have faced you may need some help.

*This advertisement feature appears in the access to finance special report in the June/July 2020 issue of Birmingham Business

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