The Covid-19 pandemic is going to have a long-lasting impact on the way we work, socialise and go about our lives. The new normal, as it has been dubbed, is here to stay for the foreseeable future – but how are businesses dealing with it?
Richmond Events have been conducting surveys throughout lockdown – gathering data on how companies are managing, changes they have made and their opinions on the future for their businesses.
The findings of the survey show that businesses are hugely worried about the economic impact – as would be expected. More than seven in ten respondents were concerned about the long-term prospects for the economy, with that rising further in relation to the short-term impact. The matter of most importance for businesses has been preservation of cash flows, with many opting to utilise the various Government schemes to help with this.
Despite economic fears, many businesses have found positive and productive solutions for issues. Almost three-quarters of respondents said they have found new, more efficient ways of working during the crisis, with over half expressing increased confidence in technical solutions. For example, many businesses have used this as an opportunity to increase their online and digital presence, diversify their offerings and increase their marketing activities. Many businesses have also identified non-essential expenditure to be cut, which is likely to be beneficial to them through the recovery.
The biggest change, for many people, has been the switch to remote working. According to the Office for National Statistics, only around 5% of the UK workforce worked from home before the virus hit. That has inevitably risen over the past few months as the country locked down, topping 90% in April.
Is this likely to stay in the future? 83% of respondents expect remote working to change how they operate in the future – pointing to the potential of more flexibility for workers. Of course, this has both benefits and drawbacks, depending on the business and the individual’s circumstances. Many businesses are concerned about the welfare of their employees, due to the lack of social interaction that workplaces often provide. More emphasis has been put on the wellbeing of employees.
So, what does this all mean? No one really knows exactly, but things are going different. The pandemic has presented businesses with an opportunity to improve their structure and operations. How is your business going to take advantage?