Majority of UK businesses want to 'build back better'

The majority of UK companies want to use the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to make a more positive impact on society, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has found.

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Chiefly, firms are keen to capitalise on improving employees’ work-life balance, reducing carbon emissions and accelerating innovation.

The poll of 573 companies found that 67% expect to increase activities to “support the net-zero carbon emissions reduction target”, while the same proportion want to make their business more diverse and inclusive.

Moreover, 57% said that they will do more to support their local communities, with 58% saying it's likely that “people will shop close to where they live, rather than shopping further afield” after the pandemic.

The CBI's deputy director-general, Josh Hardie, said: “Despite the huge challenge of operating through the pandemic, this survey shows firms are committed to listening to employees and customers, innovating at speed to build back better.

“The rewards for those who get this right will be substantial, with clear benefits for both companies and individuals.”

Looking beyond 2021, just 28% of businesses expect their staff to be entirely or mostly working in an office away from home, down drastically from the 79% that said this in 2019.

Almost half expect staff to split their time evenly between home and the workplace, with respondents predicting their office space to reduce by an average of 18% in comparison to last year.

The findings also show that 65% of businesses think it will no longer be necessary for their staff to travel within the UK to meet colleagues and clients due to video conferencing, while international travel looks set to be curtailed too.

Hardie continued: “Good businesses have a long-standing commitment to acting responsibly and showing their worth to society. The pandemic has accelerated these efforts.

“This will continue post-pandemic, with a welcome long-term focus on benefits firms can bring to people, planet and place.”

Image credit: iStock

Author: 

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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