In a new survey of SME workers by Purbeck Insurance Services, 26% feel their loyalty to their employer has improved based on how their business dealt with the pandemic. Just 16% said they feel less loyal. The fact that 12% said they knew the boss had sacrificed their salary to prop up the business’s finances and a further 7% knew the finances of the business were being supported by personal savings may have contributed to these feelings.
Keeping in touch via online conferencing tools may also have helped keep staff in touch but close to a third (29%) want to ditch the technology as soon as the pandemic is over.
When asked about what other the actions their business has taken to deal with the pandemic, 31% said their business had used the Furlough scheme, 18% had cut workers’ hours, another 18% said there had been a reduction in headcount. In addition, 17% had used a Government loan scheme and 13% confirmed they had cut back on their workspace. However over 1 in 3 SMEs (36%) has taken none of these actions.
Whilst the unemployment rate is expected to hit 7.5% in 2021, its highest level since the financial crisis in 2009, 38% of the workers surveyed confirmed they feel positive about the year ahead. This left 48% unsure about their job prospects and career progression going into 2021 and 14% feeling quite negative.
As many businesses have relied on video conferencing, workers have a love/hate relationship with tools such as Zoom. 29% want to kiss goodbye to online conferencing tools once the pandemic is over while the same 29% think they are here to stay, providing a time efficient way to get things done and agreed. The survey also found that 30% have enjoyed the interaction while 31% felt they have been essential to keep in touch with colleagues and customers.
Todd Davison, MD of Purbeck Insurance Services said “The owners and directors of small and medium sized businesses across the UK should feel proud of how they have dealt with the unprecedented challenges created by the pandemic. Despite the immense financial pressures many business owners have faced, particularly those that are shouldering huge risk by acting as personal guarantors for business loans, they have managed to boost staff loyalty through their handling of the crisis. The jury is, however, out on video conferencing. Love it or loathe it, with working from home likely to become permanent for many people it looks like our Zoom days are far from over.”