Covid 19 and Working From Home
Covid-19 continues to strike fear amongst residents of the United Kingdom; indeed, it is clear that as we move deeper into 2020, there continues to be evidence of significant negative financial ramifications as a consequence of the coronavirus, the subsequent lockdown and the stop/start lifting of restrictions, which may or may not be implemented over the forthcoming months. When thinking about life within the United Kingdom pre-Covid-19, it is hard to remember just how different life was before March 2020. Football matches had significant attendance, large gatherings were allowed, people could see each other whenever they wanted to, without the fear of infecting each other, and UK residents could enter shops without a face covering. Oh, how times have changed since Covid-19 and within United Kingdom Loans’ latest post, we have decided to explore what has happened over the previous six months, what may happen over the subsequent six months and ultimately, what impact this will have upon personal finances.
Closing pubs to keep schools open
It could be argued that there is a balance between closing pubs to enable schools to reopen. This is an extremely basic formula: pubs close, and schools can open. It is more detailed than this, but the significant ramifications of the schools continuing to be closed and children not attending education can and indeed will have far-reaching negative financial ramifications for the United Kingdom economy. Whilst it is important to acknowledge that people should be entitled to go out to have a pint whenever they want to and as long as it is safe, trading this off against the wheels of the United Kingdom economy moving again due to children being allowed back to school is a minor payoff, one could argue.
In terms of finances, many people have suggested that they have saved significant amounts of money during the lockdown period due to the fact that they have been restricted from being able to go out and socialise, to attend pubs, restaurants and other social activities and therefore it could be argued, there have been some benefits. Now that some of the restrictions have been lifted and some establishments are open, there may be some increase in the use of personal funds to cover social gatherings, but the money spent may not be as significant as it once was. The Government has announced that restaurants will be allowed to sell reduced-price meals, and this again is to oil the wheels of the economy to try to get the machinations of the financial sector working again. Here at United Kingdom Loans, we believe this is a sticking plaster over a serious wound and will do little to save the restaurant industry, which Covid-19 has massively hit.
Working from home during Covid-19
Some smaller businesses, café and shops have been adversely impacted by many of the large corporations’ decisions to allow their workforce to work remotely from home. The Government has stipulated that they would like people to return to the office spaces; in particular, this has been about employees who were office based in the civil service, and indeed direct orders have been issued from the UK Government stating that their employees should return to work. This is not, however, as easy as it seems. Some larger corporations have found that their staff have been as productive, if not more productive, working from home. This would therefore indicate that there is no longer the need for large spaces that come with massive rental costs, running costs and insurance; indeed, the average employee, with the assistance of modern technology, can, in fact, work from home efficiently and, as a consequence of this, passes on huge savings to their employer. While this has advantages, it could have significant ramifications for some smaller businesses that service office workers by providing refreshments, lunches and other daily snacks. The benefit and ultimately financial savings to businesses is, in fact, through their employees working from home, being more efficient in their working practices and saving companies huge sums of money on rental costs for properties and business rates, which continue to impact the British high street.
The rise in infection rates
Many European countries are seeing a rise in Covid-19 infections and are starting to implement more restrictions on freedom of movement for residents of the country. Although this hasn’t (yet) been implemented within the United Kingdom, aside from sporadic rises in towns such as Leicester, there is a genuine possibility that coronavirus spikes may be prevalent when the weather cools down, and more and more people come out of lockdown.
The government has stated that they will insist schools reopen in September 2020 and some people have commented that there could potentially be rising coronavirus infection rates around this time due to the impossibility of keeping everybody within school free from transmitting the virus. Although it is advantageous to the UK economy for people to return to school in September 2020, given that European countries are seeing a rise in coronavirus infection rates, this may not be possible. Australia has implemented a lockdown and restricts their residents to staying in between 8 pm and 5 am due to a rise in infections; this could, therefore, potentially hit the United Kingdom as well around the same time as the children return to school. This is indeed worrying and, in terms of the British economy, is something that needs to be acknowledged, and a contingency plan needs to be implemented if children cannot return to the classrooms.
We are in unchartered waters with the coronavirus, and Covid-19 has undoubtedly impacted the United Kingdom economy significantly. Many people will find themselves out of employment, and we could experience spikes in coronavirus infections moving through 2020. In terms of financial advice, it is certainly important to ensure that any collateral you have is tied up and remains placed within safe investments, and now is not the time to make risky financial decisions. Here at United Kingdom Loans we believe there are still choppy waters to navigate, and sadly, it will be a long time before we are in the clear and sailing to safety.