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More than half of companies plan to make workplace changes following COVID-19

More than half of companies are to make permanent changes to the way they work because of coronavirus. This comes as a survey reveals 60% of businesses are happy with the alterations their companies have put in place to keep working during lockdown, according to research released today (Wednesday 3 June 2020)

The research of 1,300 senior business leaders by Reed Specialist Recruitment, found that many businesses now see the introduction of video meetings, flexible hours, remote working, family involvement and widespread digitalisation as long-term solutions. So much so, 54% believe these new ways of working have been positive and will become permanent following lockdown.

With this in mind, it is unsurprising that 54% said that the working strategies their companies have been using had been effective.

According to the results, communication methods have changed across the board, with Zoom now the most common way of keeping in touch with colleagues. Zoom was identified by 17% of firms as a method of overcoming communication challenges in their team, ahead of phone (15%) and email (14%) with Microsoft Teams (13%), and Whatsapp (7%) not far behind.

Communication was highlighted as the most common method used to keep motivated with regular contact mentioned by 15% of leaders surveyed, ahead of keeping a routine (10%). Surprisingly, exercise was cited fewer times with just 8% of those questioned mentioning it.

Ian Nicholas, Global Managing Director of Reed Specialist Recruitment, said: “The world of work is changing. As the country slowly makes moves to return to workplaces, we will find that it’s a completely different environment and way of working. For the foreseeable future, we all need to get used to living and working with coronavirus around us, whereas in the long-term our work environment will be different on the other side of this pandemic. For sure, many jobs that we had before will not be there, but there will be roles that replace those. There will also be new ways of working which provide for greater flexibility in how and when we work, and the relationship many have with their employers will change too.

“From our research, we know the majority of employers will be taking lessons learned from this lockdown and making them a permanent fixture in the workplace. The companies that do this will not only keep their talented employees in their business, but be able to attract more workers to aid their recovery from the recession that follows.”

The research from Reed Specialist Recruitment also found that 55% of those asked had turned to the government’s furlough option for help and 10% were using its VAT deferral as the economy contracted at record amounts.

Ian added: “The health and financial impact of coronavirus has been devastating to many. As such, we are expecting the economy to take several years to regain its strength in the wake of this virus. People across a range of sectors will be central to that recovery using campaigns such as Keep Britain Working to re-deploy the workforce from low-demand to high-demand sectors. But where we can, we must learn lessons from this time, especially where many workers have seen increased productivity, happiness and lower stress levels due to the sea change in working methodology.

“Coronavirus has provided UK businesses with the biggest remote working experiment ever with 82% of those we asked working from home. This meant asking businesses to implement transformational strategies they thought were not possible for years within a matter of weeks. From this research the message is clear, we must learn from this crisis and take positives wherever we can.”

​Download our whitepaper for more information: https://bit.ly/36Vh02o

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