Just under one third of UK businesses (31 per cent) say their video conferencing system has crashed during a critical meeting since the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a new poll. The polling of 200 businesses decision-makers in UK SMEs is part of a 1,500-word report entitled Covid-19: Isolation Nation, from the Parliament Street think tank.

The data also found that one quarter of UK bosses (27 per cent) have failed to address their staff via video conference directly to update them on the implications of the Covid-19 crisis. The polling found that two in 10 companies have struggled with managing their payroll remotely, with 21 per cent expecting delays to salary payments this month.

In terms of IT resources, 58 per cent of companies have ordered in new laptops, tablet computers and mobiles to manage 100% remote working. Crucially, one third (33 per cent) have done so without upgrading their security systems. 34 per cent of businesses said they had hired in external IT support to cope with the surge in remote working. 38 per cent said they were continuing to enable digital skills training via video link. 42 per cent have introduced quizzes and online team tasks to boost morale.

Sridhar Iyengar, MD, Zoho Europe commented, “The sudden shift to complete remote working will be a shock to the majority of businesses and their employees. With the Covid-19 crisis causing chaos, disrupting supply chains and forcing millions into isolation, it’s critical that companies can continue to operate as efficiently as possible, to safeguard jobs and protect livelihoods. For this to happen, businesses need instant access to the latest video conference applications, as well as project management and employee collaboration tools to help employees remain productive during this challenging time. Not only that, but they need to have a culture of trust and understanding with their employees, in order to have them work from home effectively.

“As the country pulls together, it’s essential that IT systems are correctly deployed to ease the burden on workers, who more often than not are trying to juggle working from home whilst caring for family members, neighbours and loved ones.”

About the research

Independent research company Censuswide polled 200 senior business decision-makers in large and medium sized UK companies on their approach to the Covid-19 crisis. The polling was conducted on 25th and 26th of March 2020 after the UK government announced a ‘lockdown’ strategy, restricting the movement of people to essential tasks and trips.