V12’s Covid-19 Business Impact Survey* (May 2020) shows that business priorities have changed significantly from six months previously. When asked what the top 3 business priorities were for the next 12 months, almost half the respondents cited the same three items:
– Survival of the Business
– Cost Reduction
– Maintenance of home-based workforce
Pre-pandemic these priorities did not include any reference to straightforward survival of a company. It did include concerns about protecting against skills shortages and staff retention. In 2019, cost reduction was at the top of the MD/CEO agenda and is still a key consideration in 2020.
Increasing efficiency (39%) was unsurprisingly high on the list of priorities, with improving productivity – increasing the organisation’s output against total cost – ranking alongside managing increased demand from customers (27%). This is very encouraging as it suggests that many of these companies have found successful new ways of doing business in a restricted environment. Indeed, it rated slightly above increasing sales (26%) and selling into new markets in terms of importance.
Compliance with regulations was an unusual business focus from 22% of the sample, although with just over 6 months until the UK leaves the EU, this may be more related to the possibility of a hard-Brexit than a Covid-19 consideration.
With over 70% expecting up to half their workforce to be working from home for the next 12 months, respondents were asked how their organisation established homeworking when lockdown was enforced in the UK on March 23rd, 43% said that extending homeworking facilities for everyone who needed them was relatively easy. 26% already had some facilities in place, but struggled to find more, and almost 10% had no homeworking facilities in place, and struggled to obtain them or had workers who sourced their own solutions.
*Survey commissioned by V12 and conducted by Larato, May 2020.