COVID-19 Business

Admirable business responses to COVID-19

It’s fair to say the past seven days has been entirely life-changing for the U.K. and beyond.

Whilst we all adjust to the biggest behaviour change in known history, businesses have been faced with unimaginable challenges – challenges even those with the most robust disaster recovery plan could not have predicted.

However, there is light throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in the form of ethical, responsible and simply wonderful brands. Businesses have instinctively adopted agile practices, reached out and listened to their communities and most of all, powered on. If there was ever a poster slogan to encapsulate this movement it would be the iconic World War II ‘Keep calm and carry on’ motivational poster created by the British government.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Here are just a few examples of well-known brands handling the pandemic well;

  1. Morrisons

Morrisons is recruiting 3,500 staff to meet the increased demands. Not only is the supermarket offering more jobs, it is guaranteeing sick pay for employees who contract COVID-19, anyone affected by self-isolation or those looking after close family members. Theses groups will also be eligible for alternative shifts or holidays.

  1. Tesco

Tesco has imposed a quantity limit on customer purchases (currently customers are limited to three of any product). The supermarket chain has also adopted new opening hours, with a closing time of 10pm to allow staff to clean, restock shelves and get some rest. Along with new operating hours, Tesco is offering a dedicated hour for more vulnerable, elderly customers and frontline workers such as the NHS.

  1. Asda

As well as a quantity limit on products, Asda has also implemented additional cleaning practices, with high traffic areas being cleaned more frequently and trolleys and baskets being sanitised between uses. Asda has also adopted dedicated hours to support the vulnerable, elderly customers and frontline workers and plays reassuring messages from its CEO via the in-store radio system; reminding customers that we will get through this together.

  1. Lush

As the pandemic started to escalate, Lush opened its’ doors to the public to walk in and wash their hands for free – supporting the governments advice on hand washing to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

  1. Brewdog

Amid shortages, the independent brewer has begun making hand sanitiser at its distillery in Aberdeenshire. Founder, James Wyatt, announced on social media that the company would be giving away the ‘punk sanitiser’ for free to those that need it. 

Take-aways for you and your business:

  1. Daily communications with staff

As most of us are no longer working face-to-face, it is important for managers to maintain daily communications with staff. According to Forbes, “Filling in your staff not only allows you to keep them posted on your policies, but it also helps reduce workplace panic. The more your employees know, the better’.

It is important to show your staff that you’re looking after their interests as well as the business’.

  1. Take proactive steps

Research your options. It was announced during the recent budget briefing that the existing HMRC Time to Pay (TTP) scheme would be extended in light of the continuing crisis; this means more businesses will be given additional time to settle their HMRC obligations.

Also investigate the government-backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

  1. Support your local community

Reach out, in whatever form possible. Offer remote support and of equal importance, ask for support from your local community if you are struggling.

  1. Cost-savings

As COVID-19 continues to prove unsettling for everyone, we want our customers to know that we are still on hand to help with business cost-saving advice. We have a range of value-added services to help improve your business and we are here to answer any questions you may have during these uncertain times.

If you are concerned about the current economic climate and its’ effects on your business, visit our COVID-19 Business Support Hub to learn how GAS can help you control your business running costs.

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Paul JohnsonGroup Financial Director

Paul Johnson is very much a home-grown talent.

He joined Great Annual Savings Group in its infancy, fresh from a youth career as a professional footballer with Hartlepool United.  He quickly established a reputation within the business and aced all required accountancy qualifications in the space of four years to become the Group’s Management Accountant.

Several successful projects later, Paul was promoted to Head of Finance.  When the former FD left GAS, he took on the mantle of the business’ most senior finance professional; boasting a string of incredible achievements all under the age of 30.


“I have witnessed phenomenal growth at the Group over the many years I’ve worked here and I’m looking forward to guiding the Group into an exciting new chapter.”

Interesting fact:

Paul made his professional debut for Hartlepool United against Bournemouth in the Football League.  Some say Danny Ings still resides in his pocket to this day.