The story that continues to dominate the headlines, Brexit continually seems to throw out more questions than it does answers as time goes on. But this can be very problematic for businesses as the uncertain future presents a huge range of challenges. It is essential, then, that every company should make individual preparations for the fallout from Brexit.
Here are some of the most important methods that you can use to prepare a plan for Brexit and ensure that your businesses is well positioned to succeed in spite of what the future holds.
Stay up to date
One of the most important things for any business to do in the lead up to Brexit is to keep up to date with the developments. Brexit is currently not going to come into effect until 29 March 2019 and that means that there is still a lot of time for things to change. Given that this is the case it is essential that you keep up with those developments. The UK leaving the European Union with a so-called ‘No Deal’ Brexit is a very different scenario than a deal being reached – and the implications of that deal will need to be examined closely by business leaders.
Discuss the situation with your EU employees
A huge number of businesses in the UK utilise EU migrant workers, and a good percentage of these are dependent upon them. If you are a company that employs EU migrants you need to be aware that the potential fallout of Brexit will be weighing heavily upon them. It is natural for EU citizens to wonder whether their position will be at risk after Brexit and indeed whether it will be possible for them to work after the UK leaves.
This can leave EU staff in a position in which they feel that they need to leave the UK in order to secure their future. It is important then, to have open discussions with your staff to provide them with guidance and advice on how to secure their right to work in the UK.The current UK government position is that if an EU citizen has been continuously living in the UK for five years, they will be able to apply to stay indefinitely.
Interestingly one aspect of your business that you may need to look at closely is intellectual property rights. The protections afforded for patents, trademarks and copyright could change after Brexit. These protections will still apply in the UK but it is not actually clear yetwhether this will apply in other locations
Assume EU regulations still apply
There has been some confusion around the implications of Brexit and how it will affect businesses. For example, there are many EU laws and directives that companies are not sure whether they will have to follow once Brexit has occurred. One of the most well known of these is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which has been in force in Europe and the UK since May 2018.
Some businesses have wondered whether they will still need to follow the rules of the GDPR once the UK has left the EU – and therefore is no longer necessarily bound by its rules. However, in the majority of cases, the UK will continue to uphold the same standards as the EU. And even if these regulations were to change it would likely not be for a long time. Additionally, it is worth noting that any business that has dealings with the EU will still need to abide by their rules.
In any case it is the best approach to assume that all EU regulations will remain in place indefinitely, until you learn otherwise.
Prepare for the worst
As Brexit draws nearer there are still many unanswered questions about how the whole scenario is going to affect businesses. Ultimately businesses need to be preparing themselves for an uncertain time after Brexit and it is sensible to revise potential forecasts that take this into account. If this means that the situation works out favourably then this is a good thing, but blindly heading into Brexit without planning for its consequences would be negligent.