Business leaders remain confident about post lockdown growth

CEOs and the self-employed are cautiously optimistic about post-lockdown growth, claims a new report. As the country begins to emerge from lockdown, new research from The Institute of Leadership & Management ‘Life after lockdown: future of work’, explores the predicted changes to the workplace following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research claims almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of leaders and managers are optimistic about the future of their organisations and only 1 per cent fear they will go out of business. The results also suggest that 61 per cent of leaders and managers believe their organisations will continue to operate at the same size as pre-pandemic, and a further 12 per cent are confident their businesses will grow.

Charities, professional services, education, engineering / manufacturing and construction are all among those sectors feeling less confident about their future. A significant 26 per cent of those who responded fear their businesses will shrink, and the same percentage expect to leave their current job.

About one third of self-employed leaders see their businesses contracting in size.  Only one in three people expect to return to their previous workplace in the same way as before  and half of those that responded now believe flexible working will be more prevalent. A further 33 per cent believe their employer will reduce the use of formal office space and 60 per cent believe that face-to-face meetings and business travel will decrease. Half also believe their organisations will invest more in remote working.

Kate Cooper, Head of Research, Policy and Standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management, said: “Higher levels of optimism about the future, particularly in the SME sector and among CEOs, are encouraging. Lockdown has, in many organisations, created new ‘can do’ cultures, with 92 per cent of workers believing their workplaces have adjusted well to the changes. This suggests that many leaders and managers have a new confidence not only in their own resilience but also in that of their teams.”

“Despite challenges around technology and workspace we found that many predict some of the changes brought about by Covid-19 – such as homeworking, reduced travel time for commuting and business meetings – are here to stay. Many workers have demonstrated they can work from home, yet we also found that homeworking affects individual workers differently. Many younger workers find working from home more problematic, as their living arrangements often have more distractions and finding an appropriate workspace is more challenging.”