What to expect from HIE in the weeks ahead

Published: 19/03/2020

Things are different but HIE is very much open for business, explains interim chief executive Carroll Buxton.

Carroll Buxton (photo credit Gillian Frampton/HIE)

A great many businesses and communities across the Highlands and Islands continue to rely on our services as they try to adapt to the rapid spread of COVID-19.

We realise this is a very worrying time for our clients and the wider community, and we are working with our partners and government to ensure we do everything we can to support our region during this crisis.

Like virtually every other organisation in the country, we are adapting the way we work in line with these changing needs and government recommendations.

We are committed to maintaining access to frontline services. Clients are encouraged to continue to contact their HIE account manager as usual, by phone and email. We will do all we can to keep providing a high-quality service.

Our staff are all highly experienced in using technology for remote working and can access our key systems without being in the office. Most of us therefore are now working from our homes whenever possible, to avoid travel and having to share work spaces.

Regular business travel is suspended. All of our March events will be delivered virtually or postponed, and we are reviewing all events over the next 12 weeks.

In terms of helping businesses and social enterprises adapt to the current crisis, we are directing them to the latest information on the Scottish and UK Government responses to the outbreak.

These include advice on health and travel and specific guidance for employers and businesses, all available at findbusinesssupport.gov.scot

The changes in how we work and how we provide many of our support services will ensure continuity and help reduce the negative impact that the current emergency will inevitably cause.

With sensible measures kept under review we can continue to provide valuable support during what is bound to be a challenging time for our businesses and communities throughout the Highlands and Islands.

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