An independent survey of more than 900 decision-makers across UK business has found that two fifths (39 per cent) of firms were not in a position to use technology supporting remote working when the lockdown was announced in March.
London-based software developer Studio also found that half (49 per cent) were not set up to enable staff to work remotely as the lockdown was announced, and that a significant majority (72 per cent) of large businesses (250+ employees) have since had to invest in hardware to enable their staff to work from home. By contrast, only 19 per cent of microbusinesses have had to do similar.
62 per cent of large businesses have also had to invest in new software, comparing with an average of 48 per cent across all businesses.
To support the transition, 40 per cent of businesses have offered digital skills training to employees in light of the move to remote working. This rises to almost half (46 per cent) of large businesses, compared with just 28 per cent of microbusinesses.
Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “The lockdown has been a wake-up call for all businesses. While some already embraced practices to enable employees to work remotely, a great many were caught out when offices closed; they did not have the tech in place for staff to work effectively from their homes.
“It is positive, however, to see two-fifths of businesses take it upon themselves to offer digital skills training for staff, and generally invest more heavily in new tech. Once we return to something resembling normality, this will equip more workers to choose where, and when, they work.”