Managing the Covid-19 crisis: Business leaders’ view of the future

Eden McCallum’s second Covid-19 survey with over 250 business leaders across the UK, Europe and North America focused on the impact the crisis is having on their companies and the permanent changes they foresee it bringing about.

The results highlight a change in sentiment about the depth and duration of the impact from Covid-19, with business leaders less pessimistic about the revenue impact in 2020. Some 32% are expecting a revenue fall of over 30% for the year vs. 40% in our first survey in early April. However, respondents now believe that the disruption will last longer, with 56% expecting it to take over 9 months for business to return to ‘normal’, vs. 39% earlier in April.

Unsurprisingly, severe measures continue to be taken. Of the respondents, half have put staff on furlough and 21% have made staff redundant, up from 11% in early April. 53% have shut down or reduced operations, and 79% have reduced or deferred capital expenditure.

Looking ahead, business leaders are enacting and planning radical permanent changes to business practices:

  • 95% are already implementing or planning greater use of remote working on a permanent basis, with 56% enacting / planning reductions in office space
  • 17% have already implemented permanent headcount reductions, with a further 42% planning / considering it
  • 71% are already accelerating digital transformation and a further 19% are planning to
  • 74% are either already implementing or planning greater use of automation

Covid-19 appears to have permanently accelerated the pace of decision-making and change for the majority of businesses, with 65% expecting to implement change faster and 60% expecting to make decisions faster on an ongoing basis.

Sara Ghazi-Tabatabai at Eden McCallum said: “The results of our second survey highlight that the Covid-19 crisis has forced business leaders to act differently and make unprecedented changes at incredible speed. Increasingly agility will be critical to navigating the continued uncertainty of our new reality.”

Among the key concerns for leaders – as nations across Europe begin to tentatively ease lockdown measures – are drops in customer demand (67%), maintaining employee safety (65%) and coping with changing consumer patterns / preferences (50%).

To view the full results, please click here.

We will be launching another survey in a few weeks, looking deeper into the permanent changes businesses are making in response to the crisis, so please follow us to remain updated.