Chamber survey: more than one in two businesses confident at Government’s handling of lockdown easing
The fourteenth Suffolk Chamber of Commerce survey into how its members are responding to the spread of the COVID-19 virus has both confirmed the previous survey’s results of a widespread re-opening of businesses and suggests a broad degree of support for the Government’s longer-term approach.
Conducted earlier this week, the survey drew in 104 replies, and with more businesses looking to re-open from 4 July, 58% of respondents said that they were very confident or confident in the Government’s longer-term plans for easing the lockdown and its preparedness in the eventuality of further COVID-19 infection spikes.
The survey results also showed that 51% of businesses have now fully re-opened, with a further 19% of firms saying that there is nothing stopping them from trading. Those companies that have re-opened are successfully employing a range of measures aimed to minimise the spread of COVID-19:
70% of firms have introduced social distancing in their work place (75% in survey 13)
62% of firms have adopted flexible working (59%)
36% of firms are rotating staff to meet guidelines in their workplaces (33%)
Concerns remain about the impact of the lockdown on the health and wellbeing of owners and staff alike.
26% of business owners/ managers said they are feeling anxious and stressed at work, with another 40% feeling slightly anxious and stressed at work, figures broadly similar to two weeks’ ago.
55% of the businesses reported that their staff are facing anxiety issues, 53% are stressed, 28% are facing sleeping problems and 21% of are worried about debt.
Comments received included a number that identified some specific challenges:
Welfare of young people as a result of isolation for such a long period of time and self-distancing when they can go out. It will create long term issues for young people.
Need grandparent childcare (with contact) to be relaxed as this affects ability of some staff to be flexible in working arrangements
Those who are furloughed are bored and those who are not are weary
Paul Simon, Suffolk Chamber’s head of communications & campaigns, said: “It is clear that whilst considerable concerns remain, a majority of Suffolk businesses are confidently moving forward and adapting their trading practices to the new conditions.
“Suffolk Chamber was pleased that well over half of respondents to this survey are broadly supportive of the Government’s approach, not least as business confidence will be key in boosting economic performance, investment and job prospects over the longer-term.
“At the same time, it is a testimony to the civic focus of the Suffolk business base, that so many are thinking beyond these issues and are acutely aware of and concerned about the impact of the lockdown on their staff and our wider society.”