Life as a result of COVID-19 - Resolve Group UK

Life as a result of COVID-19

Resolve Group UK

Life as a result of COVID-19

ReSolve recently asked its clients and associates their views on the effects of the pandemic and how it might change their approach to both work and leisure in the future.

Overall, respondents were cautious about the speed at which the economy might recover from the effect of COVID-19.  Almost 54% believed it will take 12 – 24 months before recovery takes place with a further 19% believing it might take over 2 years. There was a general belief that some short term measures and pent up demand might encourage an initial burst of activity but that is unlikely to be sustainable given the significant damage that has been wrought in so many sectors.

In terms of working patterns it seems 35% of respondents are already back in their office, but the majority 42% are not expecting to return until September, with 8% expecting to return later than October. Almost 100% said they were anticipating working from home more frequently in the future, with 38% expecting to be home-based for an average of 3 days per week.  Almost half, 44%, expect to reduce their office space in the next year as a consequence. We anticipate this will have a negative effect on both the property market in terms of reduced rent for landlords and also on the many support services for office workers such as city centre retailers, sandwich shops, bars and restaurants already struggling to recover from a long period of lost revenue.

The ways in which people travel to work was also of concern. While 52% of respondents currently use public transport to get to work, almost 30% of those stated they were more concerned about using public transport than before the pandemic. Many said that they would be looking to travel out-of-peak hours and to walk where possible.

An impressive 26% of respondents are planning a holiday in the next month, a situation which has now become further complicated by the unexpected introduction of quarantine measures.  However, a further 26% are not planning a holiday for another 9 – 12 months and 12% more prefer to wait for another year before booking. The outlook for the travel industry looks very challenging.

In leisure time it seems 37% have already visited a pub or restaurant but 35% are going to wait for at least another 2-3 months before venturing out so there is still a fair amount of caution with regard to social activities, worrying feedback for the already struggling hospitality industry despite recent Government attempts to encourage people to dine out. The future for the hospitality industry looks very uncertain and we believe there will likely be many more casualties in this sector.

Retail too seems to still be another area of concern, whilst 30% of respondents do not plan to change their shopping habits, 69% plan to shop in stores less frequently than before lockdown, with 4% planning to shop only online. We anticipate significant changes in the retail landscape and many more retailers moving online only as their store base proves costly and unnecessary.

Overall, a cautious picture generally, changes to working practices seem very likely with a move to working from home, reduced travel and reduced office space having a detrimental effect on property owners and businesses that support office workers.

Reluctance to return to pre-COVID-19 levels of shopping and socialising are likely to have a devastating effect on both the retail and hospitality sectors until consumers become more confident and the threat of infection decreases.

ReSolve advises any business experiencing financial difficulties to seek professional help as soon as possible to have the best chance of recovery. If anyone would like to discuss options, without charge or obligation, please contact us.

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