central south

Changing the way we work and live our lives

The Covid-19 pandemic has

immeasurably impacted the way that we work and live our lives. Malcolm Thixton, lead partner at BDO LLP in Southampton gives a perspective from the viewpoint of the Central South

Many businesses have started to transform the way they do business, by revisiting operations, identifying efficiencies, adapting product lines and finding new ways of working. As has always been the case, economic downturns are accelerators for change.

In August, our ongoing survey of 500 C-suite leaders of mid-sized businesses across the UK shed light on the scale of redundancies across the mid-market. 91% of businesses made staff redundant due to Covid-19. While most businesses made a small number of cuts, just under a third made around a fifth of their workforce redundant, despite the Government’s Job Retention Scheme running until the end of October.

However, the findings also pointed to some early signs of recovery and resilience within the mid-market. A third of businesses (33%) said revenues were either unaffected or had actually increased in recent months and over a quarter (26%) had launched new products or services.

Agility and flexibility

One of the biggest challenges facing many businesses has been the need to adapt at speed. They have needed agility in decision making and the ability to drive changes in order to cope with disruption.

Now, businesses need to be prepared for the permanent changes of customer buying behaviours, increased competition and a clear migration to digital ways of attracting and retaining customers. The most resilient businesses are those that have adapted already, with many reporting benefits and accelerated growth.

22 Key trends

Although the long term impact of Covid-19 on the way we do business and live hasn’t yet been fully understood, a few trends are now evident:

1 The role of the traditional office workplace has changed, with remote or flexible working featuring more. Will offices now become a hub reserved for innovation and social interaction? Remote working brings productivity, cost and environmental benefits which many staff will want to protect – so employers must factor this into future thinking.

2 The role of the urban space has changed. Since the office is no longer the default destination for commuters – how will cities like Southampton and Portsmouth, and the businesses within, adapt to the challenge of reduced footfall and increased social distancing requirements?


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