23rd July 2021

A third of UK business leaders unhappy with how they handled the pandemic

A new survey of almost 1,000 decision-makers within UK businesses has revealed how they have managed staff during the pandemic. It found:

-34% of UK business managers are dissatisfied with the way staff have been managed throughout the pandemic
-33% admit that financial stability and business productivity was prioritised over staff safety
-59% plan to conduct a review of how they handled the COVID-19 crisis
A third of UK business leaders say the pandemic forced them to prioritise financial and productivity over employee wellbeing, according to new research from NerdWallet.

The finance comparison platform commissioned an independent survey of 989 decision-makers within UK businesses. It found that 34% were not satisfied with the way staff have been managed throughout the pandemic, with 33% admitting that employees’ health and safety has not always been their number one priority.

NerdWallet’s survey found that 43% of UK businesses have asked or expected for staff to work in the office since the start of the pandemic. When lockdown restrictions are fully lifted, 45% expect all staff to return to the office.

Positively, almost half(49%) have invested in new office equipment to improve health and safety and better facilitate social distancing, while 53% have allowed greater flexibility in the hours that employees work.

A further 47% of UK businesses have made cuts elsewhere so they could allocate additional resources to support employee wellbeing. Over two fifths (42%) have allocated more financial resource to support their physical health.

Three in five(59%) companies plan to conduct a review of how they handled the pandemic to see what lessons could be learnt.

Nic Redfern, financial director of NerdWallet, comments “Businesses have been forced to make many difficult decisions over the past 18 months. And evidently, many managers haven’t always been able to keep staff welfare as their main priority in the face of many new challenges brought about by COVID-19.

“Some business leaders are frustrated and dissatisfied with the way they or their company have handled the pandemic. It reflects just how troubling it has been for decision-makers as they have attempted to balance the security or survival of their business with the health, safety and wellbeing of employees.

“Clearly, the right balance has not always been struck. But it is positive to see that the majority of businesses will review their handling of the COVID-19 crisis to assess what they can learn from it.”

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