The Coronavirus crisis has already cost UK SMEs an average £277,893 each – and 64% expect their revenues to decrease by half in coming months, according to new research released today.
The study, by Fiverr – conducted amongst SME owners and decision makers in 19 cities across the UK – also found that 58% have turned to freelancers to help manage their remote workload since the crisis took hold.
And despite the gloomy economic outlook, 68% are feeling more optimistic about remote working since Government social distancing measures have been in place.
The data also shows business backs Boris – as 61% of the SME leaders believe the Government is handling the Covid crisis well. Though this is tempered by the fact that 37% of respondents who felt unprepared for the crisis blamed the Government.
The survey also offers insight into the different ways the top ten featured cities (Manchester, London, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Leeds and Exeter) are coping with the crisis, including:
Manchester is the freelance capital of lockdown Britain as Manchester also uses online freelancer marketplaces more than any other city, 73% of SMEs. 72% of SMEs buy into remote work – more than any city surveyed.
Londoners are most positive on flexibility – as 66% list the flexibility of enforced remote working as a positive thing.
Bristol businesses feel the love as 84% SME owners and decision makers feel more connected to their families as a result of lockdown, and 57% feel more connected to employees – more than any other city
Newcastle was the UK’s most underprepared city – as 64% of their SMEs felt quite or completely unprepared
Exeter SMEs are the UK’s most optimistic, as 68% rate their future prospects once Covid has passed
Every city surveyed had a majority of respondents claim their productivity has either increased or remained the same as a result of remote working.
It’s also possible to rank all the cities (with a minimum 50 respondents) in terms of how well they’ve adapted to remote working conditions – by ordering them according to the percentage of respondents who claimed productivity has increased as a result of remote working.
The survey data gives a number of hints about what the future might hold for UK SMEs – including the revealing statistic that 29% of UK SMEs plan to increase flexible working post-Covid.
Many are hoping to fight through the economic downturn, with 50% investing in digital and traditional marketing in response to the crisis.