Businesses count the cost of the pandemic

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Date: 30 June 2020

Businesswoman having head pain in office wring a bright orange jacket

New surveys show that three in ten business leaders have permanently streamlined their teams because of the coronavirus crisis and one in ten small firms have lost all their business.

New research has highlighted the extent to which businesses have been damaged by the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A survey by accountancy firm Theta Financial Reporting has found that 29% of business leaders say they have streamlined their team because of the coronavirus crisis, as they have discovered that some roles are surplus to requirements. One-third of UK workers (35%) say their business will return to the office with a smaller team with people handling more varied responsibilities.

However, 45% of employers say they see the working environment changing for the better due to the impact of COVID-19. Yet 24% of Brits say their employer hasn't explored any flexible working options to help them or their colleagues return to work.

Chris Biggs, managing director and founder of Theta Financial Reporting, said: "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."

Research conducted by 3Gem on behalf of the business banking app Amaiz has found that 10% of small businesses say they lost all of their business as a direct result of the lockdown and one-third report that the pandemic has been "very damaging".

The headline findings of the survey are:

  • 35% of firms have lost more than 30% of their business;
  • 48% have lost more than 20% of their business;
  • 31% say they have struggled to get paid during the crisis;
  • 25% say they have found it difficult to pay suppliers.

The findings show some cause for optimism though, with 59% of small businesses saying it will take less than six months to return to the previous levels of turnover. However, just under 5% say they will never recover.

Meanwhile, new research by Legal & General has found that Brits continue to be concerned about the impact of the pandemic on their own finances. It found that:

  • 29% of those polled said their finances have taken a real hit because of coronavirus;
  • Over half of the UK are worried that the economy will not recover in the long term;
  • 44% of under-35s are worried about job security (compared to 25% of the general population);
  • Nine out of ten people now plan to start saving for a rainy day.

Written by Rachel Miller.

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