The coronavirus pandemic has affected every business in the country. Most have been shut, others have continued trading in a reduced capacity and some have reallocated all their staff to work from home or taken advantage of the Governments furlough scheme.
But we are now entering a period where a managed, staged return to work for many businesses is likely.
It is a truth probably worth remembering at this most difficult of times that nobody goes into business to lay people off.
For the very great majority of employers, letting people go is the very last thing they want to do.
But, as these last few weeks have shown us, sometimes even the best-run business is forced to take difficult decisions.
As more and more companies have shut down in the face of the coronavirus, more and more businesses have faced the prospect of laying people off, or at best putting them on furlough.
Change is on its way
Theres not much we know for certain about what will happen to UK employment law in the wake of Brexit.
But what I can tell you is that things are likely to change.
The Prime Minister has made it clear that he cannot and will not guarantee that our regulations will remain closely aligned with those of the EU.
Indeed, the possibility of a guarantee was explicitly written out of the Withdrawal Agreement. Whilst an original draft contained clauses which guaranteed the protection of all EU derived workers rights, by the time the document gained parliamentary assent these had disappeared.
Have you heard of IR35 yet?
Chances are that if you havent, you soon will.
Thats because it comes into effect from April 6 and could have a major impact on all medium or large-sized private sector businesses which employ contractors.
From that date, responsibility for deciding the employment status of those contractors for tax purposes will switch to the employer doing the hiring and away from the contractor themselves.
After three years of wrangling it now looks certain that the UK will leave the EU at the end of this month.
And for businesses of all shapes and sizes, thats going to bring some sizeable changes to the way they employ people, the rights those workers enjoy and the way in which they are enforced.
It wont all happen overnight of course in fact, far from it.
Hot desking how to make it work
The world of work is changing and that means our working habits are changing with it.
Gone are the days when employees religiously clocked on at 9am, sat at the same desk they had always sat at, and then religiously clocked off at 5pm to return home.
The explosion in digital technology, changing lifestyles and the growth of the freelance culture mean that flexible working is now very much an everyday part of our working lives.
And with that has come the rise of hot desking.
There has never been a more important time for employers to look after their staff.
As we start to think about a return to work, all employers will need to recognise they owe a duty of care to their workforce with regards to the impact of this unprecedented situation.
And mental health will be a key issue as people come to terms with a changed world, face all-too natural anxieties about mixing with people again as we start to return to work and adapt to the uncertainties which are certain to exist for many months to come.
Existing mental health issues, particularly anxieties are likely to be exaggerated during this situation. The worry, stress and uncertainty caused by living through an international crisis should not be underestimated and will test the coping strategies of a good many people.
I suspect that if somebody had told us this time last year that most of us would be working from home by now, wed have given them a bit of an old-fashioned look.
And I daresay for many of us the thought of not having to go to the office, factory or workplace for our jobs would have seemed rather appealing.
Now that its happened, of course, things are somewhat different.
Partly, that's because we are not just working from home, we are in a state of lockdown at the same time. We cant go out, cant meet our friends, cant get to the gym or the shops or do any of the hundreds of things we do in more normal times to keep balance, perspective and context in our lives.
Fighting back against the bullies
You cannot help but have noticed that the issue of workplace bullying has risen to the top of the agenda in recent weeks.
When Sir Philip Rutnam resigned his post as the top civil servant in the Home Office he spoke of a vicious and orchestrated campaign against him and also made a number of allegations about Home Secretary Priti Patels management style.
We cant know the specific facts of the case, but if nothing else it illustrates that bullying can have an impact on anyone at work, regardless of the seniority of their position.
So, what should you do if you think you have been the victim of bullying?
If you are a freelancer or contractor working almost exclusively for one company, theres a significant change on its way which could affect you.
New tax regulations called IR35 come into force on April 6 and could change the way you are regarded by the Inland Revenue.
Up until now, self-employed contractors have been responsible for sorting out their own tax and National Insurance payments.
That has brought some benefits as well as the annual headache of completing a tax return and making sure it gets to HMRC in time to avoid any penalties which is why the taxman now wants to ensure everybody is employed on the same basis.
There's been plenty of talk about how Brexit will affect workers rights since Boris Johnsons Conservatives won the December general election.
Some of the debate was intensified after a section on protecting those rights was removed from the governments EU (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill when it went before the Commons in the week before Christmas.
But at the same time, there was a raft of measures outlined in the Queens Speech which should give us a reasonable picture of where employment rights for workers are headed over the next few years.