As schools are now opening full time, many office staff are preparing to make a return to the workplace.
For some, this will be the first time they have stepped through the door, officially clocked in and embraced the office water cooler, since mid-March.
The government is keen for office life to resume once again amid concerns that if staff remain working from home there could be a long-term economic impact on towns and cities as they will continue to miss out on passing trade.
Always keen to understand the thoughts of customers and the challenges SMEs – our core customer base – are facing, we commissioned a small-scale survey.
Sadly, we found redundancy rates are on the rise with our figures showing that one in five businesses (20 per cent) have made staff redundant during the Coronavirus crisis.
In addition, the data also suggested that 16 per cent of businesses have predicted that by December more than 10 per cent of their workforce may be out of a job.
The poll of 286 businesses also discovered 15 per cent took out a business loan at some point during the pandemic. Of that figure, just over half say they used the funds to pay for general running costs, and 45 per cent say the money went towards staff salaries. Over the next 12 months, 27 per cent of those asked said they predict they will require access to further financing.
The COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on businesses. This is reflected in the fact that UK GDP fell by 20.4 per cent in the second quarter of this year, the sharpest decline of any G7 nation or country in the EU.
However, there are signs that the economy is improving, and we’re determined to support our customers in any way we can. At Redwood, we’re all about helping SMEs, looking to make sure their properties and cash work harder for them, so they can concentrate on reaching their true potential.
Our overarching aim is to make a difference to customers, putting their needs at the forefront of everything we do.
New lending facilities have been crucial for some during this uncertain period of time and our survey revealed that 15 per cent of businesses took out a loan.
Of those who have borrowed, 19 per cent said their loan value was more than £50,000. However, one in four (24 per cent) said they received less than they had applied for, and 14 per cent actually received more.
At Redwood, we are proud to consider each and every loan application individually. We take into account each customer’s unique situation and weigh up how our support could positively impact their business.
Just over half of the businesses interviewed in the survey say they took out loans to pay for general running costs, and nearly half (45 per cent) said the cash went straight on salaries. Over the next 12 months, 27 per cent of surveyed businesses think they will need access to further financing to help them get by.
We’re as passionate as ever about supporting British businesses and even more keen on helping them to navigate this ever-changing financial and business landscape. We want SMEs to succeed, not sink, and we’re here to help keep them afloat.