One in five (20 per cent) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) plans to occupy less physical space after the Covid-19 pandemic eases and people return to work, according to research by Santander.
Almost a third (29 per cent) plan to have their staff working more remotely in future.
The study, which polled 2,050 senior leaders in UK SMEs – suggests that the pandemic has driven long-term change to the way businesses operate.
More drastically, one in seven (16 per cent) say they will look to repurpose their business completely.
Nearly half (47 per cent) said they grew their customer base during the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to adaptations made to stay open.
However, despite finding ways to survive the pandemic, only one in five (19 per cent) affected businesses expect their operations to return to pre-Covid-19 levels in 2020. Three-quarters (77 per cent) of consumers feel that the pandemic has shown them that Britain would be worse off without SME businesses.
More than half (57 per cent) of SMEs adapted and changed the way they do business as a result of Covid-19 and half (51 per cent) now plan to completely rethink their long-term business strategy moving forward. Introducing alternative operating hours was the most widely implemented operational change, with almost one in five (18 per cent) business leaders taking this step.