in general, businesses are not communicating their concerns to their Board, with older companies even less likely to do so. One in five organisations, with more than 20 years in operation, did not brief their Board on any driving for work related issues.

Changing the future of work

COVID-19 is changing the future of work, with just under three quarters (70%) of large enterprises anticipating an increase in the adoption of working from home practices while less than half (48%) of SMEs expect the same. Visiting, exhibiting, and speaking in person at conferences have been put on hold; more than 40% of SMEs and over 50% large enterprises agree that they will likely see a decrease in event participation.

Future staff travel and mobility requirements will also be impacted: large enterprises anticipate an increase in requirements for company cars (56%), company vans (47%), and staff using their own vehicles for work journeys (70%) – also known as ‘grey fleet’. At the same time, 51% of large companies expect to increase their use of external couriers or delivery services.

Better business resilience

The promotion of staff mental health at board level and the wellbeing and welfare policies implemented highlight the incredible progress being made by businesses.

Large enterprises have excelled in supporting staff wellbeing and welfare during COVID-19: large firms were twice as likely to provide resources and signposting to support their employees’ mental health during the pandemic than SMEs. Over twice as many large companies deployed a Driving for Work policy, including COVID-19 modifications and adjustments, compared to SMEs.

SMEs also did well to adopt flexible working policies; whilst 43% of SMEs had flexible working policies in place before the pandemic, only a third of larger firms did.

Commenting on the findings Simon Turner, Campaign Manager at Driving for Better Business, said: “Every organisation puts in place a business strategy and a plan to deliver on that strategy. They weave in contingencies that enable the plan to be flexible and to react to changing market conditions. Very few would have entered 2020 with a contingency to deal with the fallout from a global pandemic though.

“COVID-19 caused thousands of deaths across the world and we are only beginning to see the longer- term impact it will have on society, the economy and businesses.

“Overall, the findings showed that business leaders have similar concerns, though those that run SMEs are more concerned than larger enterprises. Top of mind for business leaders are rebuilding their business and surviving any additional lockdown measures, while managing workforce welfare and mental health.”

Turner concluded: “The economic outlook is uncertain, to say the least, with experts divided over exactly how badly different sectors could be affected. On the whole, however, our survey sample were optimistic. One thing that is certain though, is that firms must adjust quickly to the current environment and take every opportunity to minimise operational costs and improve efficiencies in order to give themselves the best chance of survival, and the ability to thrive as soon as conditions allow.” 11

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