How has COVID impacted your business?
Love your employees Research
Love Your Employees have just completed their substantial annual research. It’s is hot off the press! Clients who have valued previous years research have eagerly awaited this year’s results. Everyone is keen to know what employers have to say about how Covid has impacted their businesses. Everyone has had their heads down coping as best they could, now is the time to reflect a little and benchmark what has happened in your company with competitors and other sectors. The full report is a comprehensive 50+ pages long and there are 15 industry specific reports available too.
Every year Love Your Employees have deep and insightful conversations with 300 senior HR decision makers across the UK, in randomly selected companies of all sizes and sectors. They also conduct desktop data research for just under 2000 UK companies. The smallest firm this year had 20 employees and the largest had 54,000, collectively the companies in our sample employ 1,733,337 people in the UK.
Over the next few weeks we highlight some themes from this research. Todays extract looks at the impact of Covid and how firms responded to home working.
Impact of COVID
We asked employers ‘COVID 2020 is one of the biggest global disruptions in history. How is your business coping?’
50% of employers told us they had suffered a negative impact on their business. We asked them in what way and the two most common answer was ‘furlough employees’ and ‘loss of sales’.
Some employers (22%) said Covid had no impact, of which three quarters of those employers said they had weathered the storm and are fairly stable.
Surprisingly 28% said Covid had a positive impact, when we asked in what way, the majority said ‘they had adapted and responded to the crisis very well’, or covid had ‘resulted in more work and business than normal’. Which is encouraging that some firms have been able to capitalise during this crisis.
There shows a real mix bag of experiences with our sample of companies. We saw that half the firms we talked to have been impacted negatively by Covid. Just over 20% feel they have come through okay with minimal impact, and perhaps most surprisingly was the large number (28%) that told us the pandemic had been positive for them.
We then dug a little deeper to look at how companies responded to some of the restrictions, in particular home working.
We asked employers ‘home working emerged as a necessity last year to reduce infection spread, which statement best describes remote working in your organisation’.
- For our type of business, the majority of staff of staff had to come into work throughout the pandemic, only a few could work from home – 33%
- The majority of employees have worked from home for most of last year but we would hope to resume office work when practical this year -28%
- After the initial lockdown we have been able to adapt our business to allow people to work safely in our office on a rota basis– 6%
- Home working has become the new normality we have adapted our systems, processes and people and people have generally enjoyed it – 22%
- We have adopted home working for the majority of our operations which will lead to us to close office space and retaining this form of working going forward – 11%
Homeworking for many companies was completely new, it has been a necessity and they have adapted well. The feedback here is interesting. There is a lot of noise around the topic, the government regularly promotes the desire to get city centres opened up completely. The English and Scottish governments have taking opposing views (as is common these days) with the English government wanting all civil servants to return to office work and the Scottish government continuing to embrace home working for the majority of parliament staff. Senior leaders in companies such as Goldman Sachs, agree with the government and want a return to office as quickly as possible. Others, particularly academic research sees this view as outdated, and many estimate that the pandemic has been a catalyst for dramatic working change with the majority of people demanding the work life balance that they have learnt to enjoy.
The results here are interesting because there is no political or media distortion, this is purely what employers said is happening in their companies. These results show that many are keen to return to normality but for others this change may become the new normal. As other research has shown, this may impact on our high streets and city centres and the speed of this change is a difficult thing to absorb.
It may be that you haven’t had time to fully think what the future would look like. If you were answering the questions above, in which category would your company sit? Do you know yet, will it be fully office based work, fully home working or a hybrid mixture of both? Where would you say you are in terms of the first question on the impact of Covid? Have you communicated your ideas about resilience and future working plans with your employees?
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