AS Worcestershire businesses continue to emerge from the dark days of lockdown, the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce is continuing to provide help and support to firms.

Sharon Smith, chief executive of the Chamber of Commerce, has provided an update on how the businesses are faring.

She said: “Over the past month or so, businesses have been either working remotely or coming back to work in a limited capacity, but what is drawing them all together is they are all working on measures to eventually return to full capacity.

"Part of the new normal is that businesses are now looking at how they can adapt for the future. Will they carry on working remotely? How will their offices be set up?

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"There will certainly be different types of office provision once this next phase is over. Businesses could think ‘do we need to go back to the way things were? Does everyone need to be in the office at the same time?"

Part of the package of support the chamber has offered businesses is regular webinars and information bulletins. These allow businesses to access condensed, detailed information from the ever-changing government briefings.

The webinars and training sessions being carried out remotely are similar to the chamber’s existing training programmes, but have been adapted to address concerns around the furlough scheme, social distancing and using remote working to its fullest potential.

Mrs Smith added: "The main aspect is up to date information. With the daily briefings taking place, it is hard to keep track so we try to make sure it is relevant and up to date.

"The training and webinars we try to tailor to where we are at currently. So at the beginning they were about furlough and job retention whereas now it is more about risk assessment."

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Mrs Smith also welcomed the chancellor Rishi Sunak’s support package for the hospitality industry, saying: “The government measures announced today will boost consumer confidence and power the country’s economic recovery, whilst also addressing the issues young workers are facing.

"It was the worry of many that the effects of coronavirus would force businesses to put the development of younger workers on the back burner, adding to the skills shortage the country is already facing.

"This announcement will be welcomed by many businesses and local authorities.

"Businesses will still be looking for answers on how key support they are relying on can continue and what government support will be available after the Job Retention Scheme closes in October which the government will need to address.”