A new snap poll survey has found that nearly 1 in 8 (12%) business leaders believe all staff will be back in their companies’ office/workspace once the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted, with 31% either planning to downsize their office space or having it under consideration.
In addition, nearly 30% of respondents assessed their current office space/working environment as not conducive to implementing Government-approved social distancing measures.
In good news for the current Government, 75% of business leaders believe the Government’s phased plan to reopen the economy is either ‘well judged’ or ‘adequate’. Furthermore, 71% of business leaders acknowledge that a recession is imminent but that it will be a short-term one.
The Institute of Directors in Ireland (IoD) Ireland survey was conducted between Friday, 12th, and Tuesday, 16th June 2020, amongst the IoD’s 3,000 members, comprising CEOs and company directors.
The key findings of the Snap Poll include:
- Office vs. Remote Working: When asked the question, ‘Which statement is most relevant with regard to where your staff will be located once the lockdown restrictions are lifted?’, respondents chose the following:
- Just 12% (or, nearly 1 in 8) of business leaders said ‘All staff will be back in the office/workspace’
- 5% chose ‘All staff will now work remotely’
- 26% said ‘A minority of staff will continue to work remotely’
- 40% chose ‘An equal mix of staff working in the office and remotely’
- and, 18% said ‘The majority of staff will work remotely’.
- Office space and the future: When posed the question, ‘Is your organisation planning to downsize its office space?’, 69% said ‘No’ with 12% answering ‘Yes’ and 19% saying it is ‘Under consideration’.
- Office space and social distancing: 61% of business leaders answered ‘Yes’ to the question, ‘Is your current office space/working environment conducive to implementing Government-approved social distancing measures?’, 30% said ‘No’ and 9% said they are ‘Not sure’.
- Employment/recruitment: When asked the question, ‘What would you say currently best describes your company’s employment status?’, 35% of business leaders selected ‘No change from before the COVID-19 crisis’, 27% chose ‘Paused recruitment’, 15% said ‘Currently recruiting’, 12% chose ‘Making redundancies’ and 11% selected ‘Reduced working hours’. Therefore, 23% of business leaders say they are making redundancies (12%) or reducing staff working hours (11%).
- Impact on salaries: When posed the question, ‘Has your company reduced employee salaries?’, 75% of business leaders said ‘No’, while 23% said ‘Yes’.
- Recession looming? When asked the question, ‘Do you think Ireland is facing an imminent recession?’, 71% of business leaders selected the option ‘Yes, but a short-term recession’, and 22% selected ‘Yes, and a long-term recession’. 3% said ‘No’ and 3% said ‘Don’t know’.
- The Government’s lockdown exit strategy: When posed the question, ‘What do you think of the Government’s phased plan to reopen the economy?’, 43% of business leaders said it was ‘Well judged’, 32% said it was ‘Adequate’, 21% believe it is ‘Too slow’, and just 3% said it was ‘Too fast’.
- Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme: 37% of respondents noted that their company availed of the Government’s Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, 54% said it did not, with 9% saying it was ‘Not applicable’.
When those that that did avail of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme were asked, ‘Has the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme been beneficial to your business?’, 81% said ‘Yes’, and 1% said ‘No’ while 18% answered ‘Not applicable’.
When asked, ‘Do you think the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme should be further extended beyond August?’, there was an equal split of 35% each for those business leaders who said ‘Yes’ and those who said ‘No’, while 22% were ‘Undecided’ and 8% were ‘Not sure’.
Maura Quinn, Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors in Ireland, said: “Rumours of the demise of what many people call ‘the office’ have been grossly exaggerated, but opportunities as well as challenges now face business leaders and employees alike.
“The future of workplaces and recruitment is being reconfigured. Business leaders will need to be agile to allow for these new changes, as well as showing clear leadership and guidance to help direct it.
“We are exiting the coping stage of COVID-19 in terms of how businesses operate and a substantial majority of business leaders believes a short-term recession is looming. There is no avoiding the stark reality of that happening. We are an open economy and our overseas markets have been similarly impacted. For this reason, we call on the Government to ensure continued business support measures are being put in place which, in turn, will help kick-start the economy.”