In its response to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Guernsey has focused on community cooperation. The social media hashtag #Guernseytogether has been successfully used as a reflection of this intention. Guernsey employers of all sizes and industries have had to adapt quickly and seek the co-operation of their employees in their business continuity efforts.
Due to the swift success of the public health policies adopted by Guernsey's local Government, the island is now moving through its easing of lockdown at a significantly quicker rate than was originally envisaged. For employers, the move back to business is welcome, but all are cognisant of the impact that rapid changes can have on the mental well-being of their employees.
To that end, many employers are seeking to engage in active dialogues with their workforce, to reach a shared vision of the work environment that is being rebuilt. The island-wide experiment in flexible working through lockdown has ignited the conversation around its benefits and downsides. There is no legislation in Guernsey which deals with flexible working; this affords employers and employees freedom in what their new landscape might look like.
In some sectors, businesses are adapting to a change in who they provide their services to. For example, the hospitality sector is having to adapt to the changing face of their clientele and a shift to the 'staycation'. Luckily for islanders, innovative and creative local offerings are plentiful. For those in professional services, the crisis has presented a valuable opportunity to explore virtual business development.
Both employers and employees in Guernsey are discovering that connections with colleagues and clients can be made in a myriad of ways and the island is looking forward to taking these lessons onward in the months and years to come.
An original version of this article was published in the Taylor Vinters International Employment Law Update, July 2020.
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