Morgan McKinley releases the initial findings of the first in its series of surveys monitoring the pulse of business across Ireland as a consequence of the recent pandemic.
Morgan McKinley has launched the first in its series of surveys conducted in April, reporting on the initial impact that the Covid-19 public health crisis is having on business activities across Ireland as well as the responses of business leaders to such extraordinary events. We intend to present updated versions of this survey throughout the coming weeks, including key discipline insights, to examine the impact, main response measures taken and track the way forward including key milestones for businesses through this current pandemic.
A sample of businesses were surveyed representing more than 14 different industry sectors accounting for a total sample group of circa 35,000 employees in Ireland.
Key Observations from the initial Morgan McKinley Covid-19 Business Impact Survey
1. “Business as usual” for some during the crisis
Despite 20% of surveyed companies being severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and all the respondents acknowledging some kind of impact, it was positive to see a select number of companies speaking of “business as usual” (Food, pharma, beverage and utilities) when referring to their current activities.
“the business has been able to adapt in terms of working from home which has taken a bit of getting used to but it's BAU” (Regional Manufacturing Multinational)
2. Success of remote working from a practical perspective with some decrease in productivity observed
While a large number of businesses admitted they had some level of remote working available to their employees prior to Covid19 pandemic, the vast majority admitted to the shock of having to adapt to a large majority of their workforce working remotely at the same time. The speed of adoption ranged from a couple of days through to ongoing with the mass respondents signalling an acceptance that this way of working would be the ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future. Many of those surveyed expressed a desire to consider favourably their level of remote working for their employees when business eventually gets back to ‘more normal ways’.
“Everyone is working remotely” (Indigenous IT Consultancy)
“Everything can be done remotely - it takes longer but can be done” (Shared Services Centre)
“Some functions are struggling, but overall it is working” (Multinational Insurance Company)
3. Availing of public support schemes as a last resort
The survey has indicated a slower response rate of some professional organisations to the supports offered by government, with a large proportion adopting a wait and see approach, before they triggered actions to avail of same.
“I do not want to take advantage of any funding options if our business does not need it” (Supply Chain Provider)
“Without the schemes the business would be faced with temporary lay-offs” (Indigenous Professional Services Consultancy)
4. Protecting and caring about the staff
All respondents were passionate about protecting the jobs of their employees in as much as they possibly could and a common mantra of ‘us all being in it together’.
“Our intention is to hold onto people as long as possible and not make anyone redundant if at all possible” (Regional Pharma Company)
“Once restrictions are lifted, the belief is that the people element will be the most important to address, so that employees feel safe when they return to the office” (Indigenous Financial Services Company)
5. A precedent for the future
It is very clear from the sentiment of respondents that all policies which have been tried and tested to the max through the current crisis, will be subject to review and revision post emergency to ensure they are fit for purpose for the new world and ways of working.
“Now looking at long term implications of internal strategies following COVID19 e.g. remote working policies, HR policies, Business Continuity plans etc. COVID19 has stress tested these policies and approaches.” (Domestic Banking Organisation)
6. Preparing the next phase
Already, less than four weeks from when Ireland was put into a de facto lockdown by the government as a measure to control the spread of Covid19, business respondents are seeking to get some clarity on when they might be able to return employees and their business to a less restrictive way of working and are seeking guidelines on what constitutes best practice (were it to exist) in how to do that safely and the expectations of them as employers to do this.
“Need to see plans for the loosening of restrictions” (Multinational FS organisation)
“The businesses which are wrestling with the COVID19 situation are well into their plans. What needs to be addressed is how to stand up or reopen businesses again." (Technology Multinational)