We asked full and part-time workers, key workers in different essential industries, self-employed professionals, and business owners how the pandemic was affecting their jobs and impacting their livelihood.

Latest update: 24th September 2020


 Employment breakdown 
A breakdown of our UK sample's employment situation.
  • Approximately half of our sample are non-key professionals working full or part-time.
A breakdown of their working situation back in April, when we started our research.
  • Most professionals have been able to keep working from home.
We asked managers and heads of department across all industries if they had signed up and/or started using a new communication or collaboration tool during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Over 90% of the senior professionals we asked confirmed they had started using new communication and/or collaboration tools during the pandemic, especially as a way to make communication between workers easier when working from home/remotely.
  • Only 9.9% of our sample said they weren't using any new tools at this time.
We asked our professionals which video communication tools they preferred to use or were currently using.
  • The clear winner is Zoom, with 91.9% of our sample choosing it as one of their favourite video communication tools.
  • Skype took second place with 52% of the votes.
We also wanted to know if the professionals who replied to our survey were using any written chat tools or collaboration platforms.
  • 67% of professionals are using Microsoft Teams to keep in touch with colleagues.
  • The messaging tool Slack was the second favourite option with 21.4%.
After a few months of COVID-19, we asked professionals in mid-July how the pandemic had changed their priorities.
  • The top priorities for workers after the pandemic are a better work/life balance (78%), having flexible working hours (75%) and being able to work remotely (74%).
  • 49% of people think that having healthcare benefits is more important now when compared to before COVID-19.
  • 18% think social activities will be less important in a work environment post-COVID-19.
1 in every 4 people working full-time are thinking about switching jobs after the pandemic.
Based on this change in priorities, we asked people how likely they are to see a new job if their current employer doesn't meet these expectations.
  • In general, 64.6% of people said they were likely to do so, with 18.83% saying they would 'very likely' look for a new job in these circumstances.
  • 18.6% are still undecided regarding what kind of action they would take, probably due to the uncertainty in the job market caused by COVID-19.
  • People working in larger organisations (more than 51% of employees surveyed) are more likely to consider changing jobs after the pandemic is over. 

 Impact on income and savings 
 
What kind of changes to their household income have people experienced since March 2020?
  • While 46.2% have experienced no changes to their household income, a significant 42.3% of people have had their income reduced since the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Only 11.5% of the population have registered an increase in their household income.
How have our saving habits changed in the last six months?
  • 18.6% of our sample has been forced to stop saving entirely, while 19.5% are saving less than before the beginning of the pandemic.
  • With so many people now working from home and not leaving the house as much, 32.6% are saving more than before and, for 29.4% of the population, their savings habits haven't changed.
We asked people how much of their income they were currently able to save. 
  • 34.7% of British people are currently unable to save any money.
  • 31.1% of Brits are managing to save less than 10% of their income, while 23.5% are saving between 10% to 25%.
Are people worried about further consequences and changes to their household income in the last quarter of 2020/first quarter of 2021?
  • While 45.8% of people don't expect any changes to their income, the future is not certain for 15.3% of the population.
  • The amount of people who expect their household income to decrease is more than double than the amount of people who expect their income to grow.

 Impact on full/part-time workers (non-key workers) 
 
A comparison of the working context for non-key workers over the last three months.
  • Less people are working from home, not working due to the lockdown or on furlough in June.
  • The amount of people not working due to lockdown or on furlough has gone down by 8.7%.
We asked full and part-time non-key workers if their working hours had changed in June 2020 compared to the previous months in lockdown.
  • 61.6% are still working their normal hours, while 28.4% are currently on furlough.
  • While 6.9% have had their working hours reduced by their employee, 3.1% have volunteered to work less time.
At the beginning of the pandemic, we asked workers if they were concerned about their employment or income:
  • When comparing the data collected in May and in April, there are no significant changes to workers' concerns when it comes to their employment or income security.
The image below breaks down these concerns according to the timeframe:
  • The data in May shows more concern about redundancy (41.2%), when compared to April (18.6%).
  • Over 41% are concerned about salary cutbacks in May compared to 18.3% in April.
A breakdown of the actions taken by employers in April vs. May:
  • An extra 3.90% of workers have been made redundant according to the latest data.
  • 2.2% more workers have not had their contracts renewed in May.
  • A total of 10% of workers surveyed had their working hours reduced in May, compared to 1.1% in April.
  • An extra 4.6% have been informed about salary cutbacks in May.
  • 36.4% of full and part-time workers who took part in our survey said they had been furloughed.
After being in lockdown and living with COVID-19 for over two months, we asked professionals working in a variety of contexts how motivated were they to do their job.
  • Only 14.9% of people are feeling 'very motivated', with 31.7% feeling 'quite motivated'.
  • 17.8% are not feeling inclined towards any particular motivation level.
  • 27% of workers are feeling 'quite unmotivated', and 8.9% are feeling 'very unmotivated' to carry on working in the current conditions they are in.
How productive do professionals working remotely (from home) felt in June/July compared to August/September (after six months since the beginning of lockdown)?
  • Looking at the data, it feels like people have settled in when it comes remote working. The biggest change is the amount of people who picked 'no change' when asked about their productivity levels in June/July compared to pre-COVID-19 times. 
  • More people in August/September feel like they are now more productive when working from home: 36.4% versus 47.8% in the more recent months.
  • However, the amount of people who selected 'a lot less productive' has not changed, while the 'slightly less productive' group went from 16.0% to 24.9%.
61.4% of large businesses now operate remotely (partially or fully), a bigger number when compared to small businesses who previously had more remote working processes in place.
What about remote workers' set-ups? We asked people if they had the necessary equipment to successfully work from home.
  • 27.1% of our sample have all the necessary equipment, completely provided by their employers, while 19.1% are using their own equipment to work from home.
  • 8.9% of people don't feel like they have the adequate set-up to be able to work remotely.
In June we asked if employers had started communicating a 'return to work' policy to their employees?
  • Most workers who have completed our survey – 51.1% – claim they have not heard from their employer in regards to plans to go back to work. 
     
How did people feel about this statement in June?
"I feel safe within/returning to the workplace." 
  • 48.2% don't feel safe in the workplace, both currently or when thinking about going back.
  • Still, the results are balanced, with 36.8% confirming they feel safe.
Larger organisations with more than 250 employees are not giving as many updates to their employees as smaller businesses.
We asked people if they were still enjoying working remotely in September.
  • 47% of people prefer working from home rather than at the workplace.
  • 21% would rather be working from an office, for example, and 30.93% don't have a specific preference.
We asked people what would make they feel safer at/about the idea of going back to the workplace from mid-June.
  • 68.91% would like to have hand sanitiser stations available at their workplace, and 65.3% would feel more comfortable if the number of people at their workplace was limited during this period. Similarly, a significant amount of people would like to have staggered shifts and/or staggered lunchtimes. 
  • 53.7% would still like to be able to work from home on a part-time basis, instead of going back to the workplace on a full-time basis.
  • 35.6% would feel safer if the use of a contact tracing app was mandatory at their workplace.
  • Concrete guidelines from the Government would make 34.2% feel better about being at/going back to work.
In July, and with more people going back to the workplace or receiving updates from employers, we wanted to know how pleased people were with the way their companies and organisations are handling COVID-19.
  • Most people feel positively about the way the decisions made by their employers and management during the pandemic.
  • On the other end, 2.5% of people feel 'very dissatisfied', 3% feel 'dissatisfied' and 5.8% feel 'somewhat dissatisfied'. 
  • Employees at larger businesses tend to be happier with their company's response to COVID-19.
How are people feeling about going back to work "as usual" in July and what would their ideal schedule working in a fixed location look like?
  • Only 9.9% of workers currently working remotely are looking forward to go back to the office/workplace on a full-time capacity.
  • A mix of people would rather work at their office/workplace only a few days a week: 46% would like to only commute 1 - 2 days a week, and 22.9% would rather do it 3 - 4 days a week and work from home the rest of the time.
  • 21.2% never want to go back to the workplace and would rather work remotely from now on.
  • Most employees in larger organisations would prefer to go back to the workplace 1-2 days a week, compared to most employees in medium-sized organisations, who would prefer to spend 3-4 days per week working from an office.
Men are more likely to want to go back to work 5 days a week, with women responding better to remote work.
Here are a few quotes from full / part-time employed participants in our research when asked about the impact of the pandemic.
"The impact is so great, it’s unfathomable. From health to the economy, both domestic and non-domestic. I cannot imagine what the future might look like."
"I'm confused and extremely worried about life after the lockdown. Also very worried financially: our family income is lower, job prospects are poorer and pensions have nose dived."
"Working in the events industry myself, I’m very worried that the company could collapse and job losses will be at an all time high."
"I'm worried about the economic impact to the UK and the world. Also upset that it is limiting international travel, as well as local."
"I feel very, very fortunate and lucky to be in this country and that we have it pretty good when it comes to financial and welfare support, and that the NHS is doing a great job."
"It’s time to open up businesses to power up the economy and do the very best to ensure PPE equipment for everyone, whilst maintaining levels of social distancing where possible "
"I am happy to be working at home. The queues outside shops are a bit tiresome, but necessary and I have learned the best times to go when the queues are lesser."
"People are getting impatient and scared of the economic repercussions (rightly so). But I fear once businesses start to open, people will flock to them with little thought."

 Impact on key workers 
 
Industry breakdown of the key workers that answered our survey:
  • Over 45% work in health and social care, with the second biggest group being teachers and other professionals in education and childcare.
  • Supermarket workers and other professionals working in the retail of necessary goods make up the third biggest group, representing 12.9% of our sample. 
We asked key workers if they had received guidance from management/the Government ahead of changes to lockdown in mid-June.
  • 27.8% of key workers have not received guidance at all, while 6.1% have received some guidance, but don't believe it's enough.
  • The majority of our sample – 65.8% – believe they have received the necessary guidance.
We have been asking key workers how the pandemic and lockdown had affected their workload.
  • Compared to the data collected in April/May, the amount of key workers that have noticed both a 'significant' or 'slight increase' in their workload in June has gone up from 33.64% to 58.18%.
A significant number of key workers believes that our increased reliance on technology to communicate and work will return to normal after the pandemic is over.
Do key workers agree with this statement:
"I feel safe within/returning to the workplace." 
  • Similarly to part and full-time workers, 45.6% of key workers feel safe in the workplace or comfortable with the idea of going back to work.
  • On the other side of the scale, 44.5% do not agree with the statement.
Related to the idea of safety in the workplace, we asked if key workers felt like they had enough PPE (personal protective equipment).
  • The results were quite mixed, with only 17.1% confirming they have plenty PPE.
  • 33.8% are concerned that the available equipment is not enough to meet the current demand.
How motivated are key workers feeling in June 2020?
  • 52.1% of key workers are still motivated to do their jobs and keep helping their communities.
  • 16.4% are carrying on with their work and not feeling particularly motivated or unmotivated.
  • 31.6% are struggling with their motivation levels, with 8% of them admitting they are feeling 'very unmotivated'.

 Impact on small and medium businesses 
 
We asked small and medium business owners if they were considering any of the following:
  • 9.52% more small and medium business owners are considering redundancy/dismissal of staff when compared to April.
  • Over 33% of employers are considering furloughing staff or requesting other Government support.
How has COVID-19 impacted business workload?
Any business staff off work in May with COVID-19 symptoms?
We asked these business owners what was their employees' working situation in April:
  • 40.82% of business owners have all employees currently working remotely.
  • 8.16% have most staff working remotely, although the business remains open.
  • 4.08% of business owners have most staff on site, with self-isolation measures in place.
  • 26.53% of business owners have no employees currently working.
These business owners told us how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting their supply chains.
  • Delivery times have been impacted and are currently longer than usual for 88.7% of businesses.
  • 29% of business owners have complained about suppliers not operating as usual, with 48.4% currently considering onboarding new suppliers during the pandemic.
  • For 41.9% of these business owners, the products they source from suppliers have increased in price, which means more costs at a time of reduced profits for most companies.
  • 48.4% of business owners who are currently importing or exporting have been affected by COVID-19 and related restrictions in place across the world.
Here are a few quotes from business owners who took part in our research.
"Everyday is stressful. I'm supporting 50 staff members as they support vulnerable kids with no financial support from schools."
"I'm worried and anxious. My business has closed and it is yet unclear whether we will be entitled to the 80% pay of furloughed workers."
"I'm riddled with anxiety, powerless, overwhelmed. Fearful for my business and my staff. Worried about my own finances and the impact to my career. Petrified that my loved ones are in danger."
"My business supports key worker children that have additional needs and can't go to school. We have 1/3 of our children and 1/3 of our income. We are struggling and nobody is listening ."
"I totally support the measures taken in the UK, but the situation in the US is particularly concerning. I am very worried that the economic impact worldwide will be catastrophic."
"It's rubbish, there is no support from the Government for limited company directors, who are being forced to use dividends to make sure businesses can survive."

 Impact on self-employed professionals 
 
Breakdown of current working situation for self-employed professionals in April:
  • 13.09% of those who are self-employed have always worked from home, so haven't noticed a big change to their routine.
  • 21.49% are currently not working – self-employed people and freelancers are being heavily affected by reduction in workload when compared to full/part-time workers (only 6.43% not currently working).
  • At the time of completing this survey, 0.81% of self-employed people were ill with COVID-19 or related symptoms.
We asked self-employed professionals if they were concerned about working opportunities and income:
  • 73.2% are more concerned about their income in May when compared to the 49.7% who said 'yes' in April.
We also wanted to know if they had noticed changes to their workload due to the pandemic.
  • The self-employed community has not noticed significant changes to workload between April and May.

     
Opinion about the government's approach to support strategies for self-employed professionals:
  • The biggest change when comparing the stats from April and May is the fact that the percentage of people 'very dissatisfied' with the Government's support scheme went from 43.5% to 20.1%.
  • There are more people in May 'very pleased', 'pleased' or 'neither' than in April.
Here are a few quotes from self-employed professionals who took part in our research.
"I'm ok most of the time, I have savings to live off of, but what worries me most about the future is if my money runs out and I can't start working again."
"I don't really have much choice, there is not much I can do apart from following the Government's guidelines, use our common sense and stay safe."
"It needs to be taken day by day. Im gutted as I am ineligible for the self-employed support grant and feel discriminated against for having a baby."
"I have lost everything I have worked for over the last 30 years thanks to the bad leadership of people only concerned with their stock prices and ego."
"I feel excited that a new world order may arise out of this crisis. Things will be done differently and that will be beneficial to the planet. We will use our cars less. More people will work from home and be less stressed. Communities will come out stronger from this. But, of course, there's the downside which worries me greatly."
"I am self-employed and a postgraduate student who will finish studies during one of the worst economic depressions ever. The point of gaining another qualification was to improve work opportunities, but instead, I have decreased them by putting off starting full-time work in a job with a career path."

 Impact on furloughed workers 

UK wide, of those classified as employed, 20.1% are currently on furlough. We asked this group a few questions about their experiences during the pandemic.
 
In July, we asked furloughed workers if they had a date of when they were expected to go back to work.
  • 65.2% of workers don't know yet when they will be going back to work. Only 34.8% have received this information.
  • The companies that have furloughed the most staff are small businesses with 6-10 employees.
We also asked if these professionals have received updates from their employers.
  • Most people – 48.1% – have been receiving sporadic updates every month or less regularly, while 19.6% have not received any updates at all.
  • Small businesses are more likely to give employees on furlough weekly updates about their plans.
After a few months on furlough, we wanted to know if people actually enjoyed this time spent at home.
  • Most people have a positive view of their time on furlough, with 63.7% having 'very much enjoyed' or 'somewhat enjoyed' the experience.
  • Only 5.8% of people 'didn't enjoy at all' their time on furlough, compared to the 17.1% who 'didn't really enjoy' it.
In general, women have responded better to being on furlough than men, with 65.4% of women saying they've enjoyed this experience.
Are people on furlough looking forward to going back to work?
  • 63.7% of people are generally looking forward to going back to their working routines, with varied degrees of excitement.
  • 13.4% feel neutral about the idea.
  • 5.8% don't want to go back at all and 17.1% are not really excited about the idea.
Do people think the Government should extend the furlough scheme?
  • Most people – 40.2% – believed the scheme should be extended into 2021.
  • A big part of our sample (24.9%) are unsure about it or don't have an opinion on the topic.
  • Finally, 24.9% believe that the scheme should not be extended and getting people back to work should be the goal.

 Impact on unemployed people 

Whether it's because they were already unemployed before the pandemic or because they lost their jobs due to the impact of COVID-19, 8.9% of our UK sample don't have a job currently.
 
 Are unemployed people still actively looking for a job during the pandemic?
  • The big majority – 88.1% – are still actively looking for employment during lockdown.
  • 11.9% have paused their job search.
And how is the job market looking for the job seekers?
  • 84.2% agree that there are currently fewer jobs available.
  • Only 6% of people believe there are more opportunities.
The five most popular industries for people looking for a new job:
  • The retail and media industries are the clear top two industries for people looking for a new opportunity.
We asked our respondents for how long they have been job hunting.
  • 37.1% have been searching for 2 weeks - 2 months, and 33.2% have been looking for an opportunity between 2 months - 6 months.
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