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The majority of businesses are concerned that the growth of hybrid working has affected the quality of staff training
On attitudes to hybrid working, 58% of businesses said that hybrid working made it more difficult to train their people, while 64% believed that those working remotely miss out on the social aspect of the business, found the latest quarterly Owner Managed Business Pulse survey by Moore UK.
There is also a growing view that benefits packages for remote workers should be reviewed with 58% of businesses stating that some employee benefits – such as company cars, travel allowances and London-weighting of salaries – should be reduced for people who work remotely.
Maureen Penfold, chair of Moore UK said: ‘Hybrid working is a long way from reaching universal acceptance. There’s a broad recognition that hybrid working causes problems that haven’t been adequately addressed yet.
‘Hybrid working can’t be a one-size-fits-all model where everyone is automatically able to work remotely. Every business is going to have to find a way of working that suits their specific situation.’
The survey also questioned businesses about their views on government economic policy and whether it was likely to improve growth prospects this year.
The majority of UK businesses (59%) said they did not have confidence in the government to stimulate economic growth this year.
Moore UK’s quarterly survey of owner-managed businesses also found that 90% of businesses said they would struggle with rising costs this year. The Bank of England forecasted that inflation would drop to 4% by the end of 2023, but CPI inflation was recorded at 10.1% in March 2023.
The UK is forecast to be one of only two G7 economies – the other being Germany – to contract in 2023.
Penfold added: ‘Business confidence in the UK economy has yet to fully recover from the mini-Budget fallout. Business owners have been through a great deal in the past three years and are far from convinced that the near future looks much more positive.
‘With interest rates expected to rise again, inflation still close to its peak and insolvencies increasing, businesses are still braced for economic turbulence. That’s going to continue at least in the medium term.
‘Businesses are in dire need of a fall in inflation to relieve pressure on their margins. Many of them are counting on inflation dropping to 4% this year as the Bank of England has predicted. If it doesn’t, the number of businesses closing is going to keep rising as it has over the last few months.’
UK businesses ranked business costs (40%), rising interest rates (38%) and inflation (37%) as their three biggest challenges in the next three months.
Despite the challenging economic backdrop, 29% of UK businesses have hired more staff in the last three months while only 7% have made cuts to their workforce.
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