Small firms feel greater impact from COVID

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics and Business Correspondent
·1-min read

Small and medium sized firms have felt a greater impact from their staff having to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic than larger businesses.

A new survey has found a quarter of SMEs say productivity has been hurt by their staff working from home, compared with just one in six large businesses.

The research by advisory group Findex also found three-in-five SMEs said their ability to carry on business-as-usual had been affected by the pandemic.

However, of the 280 firms polled, three in five larger businesses with more than 1000 employees were unaffected.

Findex's Thomas Paule believes larger businesses will have been more likely to have invested in the hardware, system and tools before the pandemic, supporting a smoother shift to working from home.

"Smaller businesses are less likely to have made this investment, or deliver services requiring physical shopfronts to be operational," he said.

"They have consequently struggled to adapt and been hit harder by COVID."

Despite the fact that more than half of the staff those surveyed had never or rarely worked from home, it appears to be a winner.

Two-thirds said at a minimum they wanted to continue working from home at least a few days a week, with one in five saying they had no desire to return to the office full time.

"COVID-19 has likely accelerated the advancement of flexible work by decades and given us the opportunity to finally build a culture that allows long-overdue work flexibility," Mr Paule said.