‘We’ll be stronger by sticking together’ Karen Morris, operations director, Travel Counsellors

travel business from home or shared offices, we have nurtured a culture with a real sense of helping each other through thick and thin from afar, supported by practical and holistic programmes. Those support systems are being relied upon now more than ever. Here are our tips. If possible, create a 24/7 forum


to talk to your peers and colleagues no matter the time zone or wherever you are in the world, meaning that even when working remotely, you’re never alone. At Travel Counsellors we use

internal online forums to tap into a wider community of like-minded people, and have focused on creating dedicated “online” spaces

s one of the first companies to launch the concept of running a

for positivity. TCs and colleagues can post good news and success stories, plus hints and tips on keeping a positive mindset. There’s only one rule – be kind and always keep it positive. We also employ a personal counsellor for dedicated support, plus nearly 100 colleagues have completed Mental Health First Aid courses on how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health conditions. In response to the current climate,

we’ve created a dedicated support package for TC business owners. This includes help and advice on managing finances and budgeting, highlights UK government support available, includes top tips from fellow TCs, plus recommended reads for mind, body and soul. It also includes advice on stress management, keeping active and eating healthily, and features apps to practice mental wellbeing exercises. While “virtual hugs” are

replacing real ones, the sense of care is still there. Life will go back to normal, though,

and we’re already looking forward to those face-to-face interactions. We will always be stronger by sticking together.

Best practice

‘Shoring up short- term cash is vital’

Matt Purser, director, Travel Trade Consultancy

operators should fully utilise liquidity while it is still available. We are working with our clients


at scenario planning and cash flow modelling to understand the effect of months of this shutdown. Shoring up short-term cash is

essential. If you can, draw down on rainy-day credit facilities, push out supplier terms or even take advantage of any government tax breaks. Grants and loans are also being made available so check whether you qualify and start the process early. And communicate early if contracts

are likely to be breached, inform staff of changes, negotiate flexible terms with suppliers, expect greater scrutiny of accounts and review budgets that were created before the crisis hit.

not smart economics to now go and ask our bank for a loan. How much should we ask for? How long will this last? How much will it cripple the business over the next few months and years? What we need is proper government intervention. That’s why I called out Boris Johnson on BBC News last week: “Good people are losing their jobs right now.” I would love to be able to be in a position where I could keep my staff on – even on minimum wage – over

the next few months, but it would risk the future viability of the business and in turn the ability for

me to hire them back in the future. The government needs to act now and it needs to announce how employees, as well as businesses, will benefit. It needs to help me be able to guarantee them a basic income over the next few months or for a fixed period of time; help me not have to have conversations where my staff members are in tears at the prospect of not being able to pay their rent. In the meantime, my team needs

government intervention to help them.

t TTC we have released a Covid-19 guide, which says agents and



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