Covid-19 has presented a truly unforgiving blow to so many UK SMEs and without warning many have had to react or even contract as any reasonable risk/disaster management systems that they had in place could not have predicted the fallout of this pandemic.
Despite non-essential retailers reopening across the UK and the hospitality industry about to reopen this weekend, the eventual fallout of the lockdown period on SMEs are still unknown. In the interim, however, there has been a huge shift in operational and cultural norms, whilst we adapt to COVID-19, is emerging, and it is set to transform the workplace potentially forever.
It looks like many companies are aiming to return to offices next week, 21% of the workforce has been furloughed for some period during lockdown and 25% of SMEs have had to temporarily close because of the lockdown, the majority of those still operating have reported a drastic reduction in turnover.
Today, Theta Financial Reporting, a chartered accountancy and consultancy firm specialising in freelance working options for the UK private sector, has released a new survey from 2,000 UK adults illustrating how the UK workforce in general feel about returning to work post-lockdown, and what it is that they are returning to.
Nearly half of all UK business leaders - 45% - say they see the working environment changing for the better due to the impact of COVID-19
Three in 10 business leaders - 29% - say they have streamlined their team permanently because of the COVID-19 crisis as they discovered some roles were surplus to requirements
24% of Brits say their employer hasn’t explored any flexible working options to help them or their colleagues return to work
A third of UK workers - 35% - say their company will return to the office with a smaller team with people handling more varied responsibilities
Chris Biggs, Managing Director and Founder of Theta Financial Reporting, commented on the findings: " Many businesses have adapted to working away from the office and business leaders are seeing this improve with smaller teams. This often makes them easier to manage, less bulky and more flexible to a broader range of tasks. This will have a significant impact on how our workplaces will look beyond lockdown.
There are a number of benefits to flexible working and many business leaders have seen this first hand. It is seriously concerning that with one week to go until offices return across the country, a quarter of Brits haven’t been given any flexibility in their working environments. Business leaders need to rectify this as a matter of urgency to maintain their team’s morale and safety."