In May, we surveyed our client base to highlight the views of business owners and the self-employed as they negotiate the COVID-19 government supports and announcements.
Below you will find a round-up of the key findings from our survey, findings which have been used to raise awareness of the issues facing businesses through coverage in the Irish Times, Irish Examiner and more.
In this survey we collected responses from over 400 small business owners, directors and self-employed individuals.
The severity of the impact of COVID-19
Only a handful of businesses believe they will emerge from the crisis unscathed. 60% of respondents say the crisis will mean their turnover will be down by over 50% this year. A mere 9% say it has not affected them at all.
Apart from the COVID-19 Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme or the Pandemic Unemployment Payment uptake remains extremely low. The reason for this may be that 1 in 3 businesses surveyed have a limited or no understanding of the supports available to them.
Have you taken up any of the government supports available? Select all that apply
On a scale of 1 to 5 how well do you feel you understand the support that you are eligible for? (1=Not at all, 5=Fully understand)
Over one third of business cannot reopen or could only reopen for a very short period if the number of customers allowed is curtailed due to social distancing measures. Due to social distancing rules many businesses will need to operate at reduced capacity but with the same overheads, making the business unviable. Continued government support is necessary if businesses are to re-open and operate successfully under social distancing guidelines.
Is it commercially viable to reopen your business if the numbers of customers allowed on your business premises at any one time is severely restricted due to social distancing guidelines?
Before the pandemic 41% of business with employees offered remoting working to their staff. While now 60% of employers would offer the option of working from home and 22% are considering it.
Over a quarter of businesses surveyed said it would be very difficult or impossible to implement social distancing guidelines for staff when they reopen and this may be one of the reasons employers, that never considered remoting working before, are doing so now.
In the past it was more common for larger companies to have work from home policies but this survey confirms that employers in the SME sector are now following suit and are open to the possibility of remote working for the long term.