In closing 2020, Renatus conducted a short survey amongst its valued network in conjunction with The Sunday Times. We asked questions looking back on how Covid impacted the last 12-months, and what to expect ahead for the next 12-months post-Covid. The survey was conducted before the recent level 5 announcements and received over 1,000 responses, between 13/12/2020 to 17/12/2020. Our results are summarised below.
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Core highlights from the survey:
74% of respondents were C-Level, Shareholders or Management.
While 48% of respondents expect to work either “majority from home” of “all from home” in H1 2021, this sentiment flips in H2 2021, with 47% of respondents expect to spend the “majority of the time” or “all of the time” back in the office.
Working from home looks set to remain in a post-Covid world with 68% of respondents expecting to work more from home post-Covid, with 38% of these expecting to work “significantly more” from home. This is compared to pre-Covid, suggesting the future is neither one nor other but much more of a hybrid.
2021 is being viewed as a year of a return to growth, with 53% of respondents expecting to hire more staff in by December 2021 that they had in December 2019. Only 15% expect to have less staff.
On balance, working from home has had a positive effect on productivity. 78% of respondents believe that their team is equally or more productive working from home vs 23% who believe that their team is less productive.
Video conferencing looks to be a more long-term fixture in how people interact. There was an 8 percentage point rise in the respondents expecting to increase their use of video conferencing services in 2021 compared to our survey in April. In 2021, 98% of respondents expect to use video conferencing the same or more than they did pre-Covid.
Covid travel concerns remain, with 77% of respondents expecting to travel less by air in 2021 vs pre-Covid, up 23 percentage points from the same question in Aprils’ survey.
M&A opportunities are a key pillar of growth for respondents in 2021, with 28% expecting it to be their business’ biggest opportunity for growth.
The Covid hangover on business sentiment is seen as the biggest potential limiting factor for growth with respondents. 39% of respondents see business sentiment as the biggest limiting factor, followed by market growth with 27%.
Unsurprisingly, with 34% of the responses, the thing people miss most in lockdown is socialising.
Q 1. (A) On average, how many days per week do you expect to be in the office in H1 2021?
In H1 2021, 32% of respondents assume to work ‘Majority from home but some from the office’
Only 16% assume to work ‘all from home’ during H1
Q 1. (B) On average, how many days per week do you expect to be in the office in H2 2021?
In H2 2021 32% respondents assume to work ‘Majority from office & some from home’
25% of respondents expect to split their time 50:50 between home and office
Only 6% expect to work ‘All from home’ in H2
Q 2. Do you think you’ll work more from home when normality returns than you did Pre-Covid?
A cumulative 68% of respondents expect to work ‘significantly more’ or ‘marginally more’ from home post-Covid
Q 3. Do you expect to have more staff employed in December 2021 than you did in December 2019?
53% of respondents expect to hire more staff in 2021, while 32% saw no change
15% expect to have less staff
Q 4. Do you feel the team you manage or work on is more or less productive since Covid?
32% of respondents found the staff to be more productive since covid
42% found no change in staff productivity
Only 21% found their staff to be less productive
Q 5. Do you think you will use video conferencing more in 2021 than pre-covid? (e.g. Google Hangouts Teams, or Zoom etc)
98% of respondents expect to use video conferencing the same or more than they did pre-Covid
Q 6. Will your networking patterns increase or decrease your carbon footprint from your commute? (i.e. will you drive to meetings more opposed to taking public transport)
Only 18% of respondents expect to increase their networking patterns post-Covid
43% of respondents expect no change to their networking patterns post-Covid
Q 7. Do you think you will travel less by air in 2021 than pre-covid?
77% of respondents expect to significantly or marginally reduce their air travel post-Covid
Only 5% expect to increase their air travel plans
Q 8. Where do you see the biggest opportunity for your business in 2021?
31% of respondents saw product development & innovation as the biggest opportunity for their business in 2021
28 % of respondents saw M&A as the biggest opportunity for 2021
An increased online & digital presence wasn’t far behind with 26% of respondents seeing it as the biggest opportunity for 2021
Q 9. What do you see as the biggest limiting factor to business recovery in a post-Covid environment?
39% of respondents see business sentiment as the biggest limiting factor to business recovery post-Covid
Q 10. What did you miss most in lockdown?
34% of respondents miss socialising the most
Family & work colleagues were least missed during Covid with 22% of respondents voting for these
Are there any sectors/industries that you think will be long-run beneficiaries from Covid and why?
Responses to this open-ended question are compared to pre-Covid and are pooled under the below respective categories
Digital / IT & Healthcare / Pharma are the main sectors respondents think will benefit post Covid-19
E-commerce & Logistics should also benefit according to respondents
Construction, advisory and retail were also mentioned on numerous occasions
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