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Pandemic to Productivity?: 2020 to 2023 in comparison

Our latest report compares attitudes to productivity amongst small business leaders in 2020 and 2023.

A lot has happened to companies since the pandemic.

Where flexible, remote and hybrid working have become the “new normal”, there’s significant discussion about how this might impact overall productivity, innovation and business performance. Meanwhile, business leaders have also been struggling with inflation, the cost-of-living crisis, spiralling energy bills and skill shortages.

In February 2020, we asked senior decision makers what they felt the biggest challenges were facing UK businesses – a question we repeated in a second survey in February 2023 in order to explore how the pandemic period and current cost-of-living crisis have affected businesses across the country.

In our Pandemic to Productivity report, we discuss the following:

Technology:

Almost half (48%) of business leaders consider up-to-date technology an important enabler for businesses to improve processes, compared to two fifths (39%) in February 2020. We also found that awareness, understanding and adoption of key technologies have also increased significantly in the past three years.

The productivity challenge:

Our data showed that 83 per cent of SME leaders see productivity as a challenge to UK businesses (32% major challenge/51% minor challenge), representing little change on the 81 per cent recorded pre-pandemic.

Productivity in conversation:

Two thirds (65%) of business leaders are now personally using the term “productivity” when talking about their businesses, up from 55 per cent in 2020.

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