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Pandemic: Quarter of UK SMEs believe it’s unlikely they will still be in business beyond 2021

Worrying new research has found that 23% of UK SMEs do not believe they will still be in business at the end of the year because of the impact of the pandemic.

The research, carried out by WorkLife, found that restrictions, which have been in place since 2020, caused 85% of SMEs to make unforeseen operational changes – including making redundancies and furloughing staff.

Steve Bee, Director of WorkLife, said of the research [to HR Magazine]: “HR teams need to ensure they are well-equipped to manage the long-term effects of the pandemic.

“This makes an employee wellbeing strategy even more key, and any strategy will need to cover the three key pillars of wellbeing – financial, mental and physical.”

Key findings from the survey based on 750 senior HR and finance decision makers within UK SMEs identified:

  • 1 in 10 were forced to shut completely – and still unsure when/if they will be able to open their doors again
  • 61% don’t think they can stay afloat without securing additional funding over the next six months
  • 77% are still dependent on government financial support schemes
  • 45% expect income to remain subdued
  • 72% expect income to return to pre-pandemic levels within the next 12 months

As we begin the transition back to the workplace, HR professionals will play an important role in driving what comes next – leading plans as the workplace moves into unknown territory following Covid-19.

Businesses will now be looking at ways to cut costs in the transition ‘back-to-work’. hr inspire’s own Sandra McLellan commented, “It’s worth remembering that reducing headcount comes with its own hidden costs, and that there are alternatives to making redundancies which can not only be more cost effective, but also help drive productivity, and in turn, profitability.”

To speak to someone about the best HR approach for your business, contact a member of the hr inspire team

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