Board response to Covid-19 crisis is viewed positively, poll finds

London, 16 April 2020 – From our poll today, in collaboration with The Chartered Governance Institute, 80% of respondents have confidence in the way their board is handling the current Coronavirus pandemic. Just 2% have little confidence in the way their board is responding to the crisis.

Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at The Chartered Governance Institute said:

“The overwhelming majority of respondents feel that their board is handling the response to the Covid-19 crisis well, which is testament to the crisis management plans that most organisations already had in place. While coronavirus is probably at the more extreme end of what many organisations might have envisaged, having procedures in place has clearly helped organisations respond to the unprecedented disruption that the pandemic has unleashed. Almost three-quarters of respondents stated that their board of directors had contingency procedures in place which have helped them to respond to the crisis.”

When questioned as to how the pandemic might affect their company in the long term, responses ranged from severely to not much. Answers to that question included:

  • Short term we will suffer operational difficulties but longer term we feel our company can play a role in supporting the global recovery
  • It will have a short-term impact on productivity but the lessons learned and experience gained will benefit the business in the long term
  • Reduced business opportunities and greater competition when the new normal returns
  • Think it will change dramatically, both in terms of our markets and the way we work going forward
  • There will be a significant impact on my company, other businesses and the UK economy
  • It will need many companies to have a complete review of how they operate in the future, particularly those in the tourism, hospitality and catering industries
  • The importance of clear communication channels has crystallised.

Commenting on the results, Peter Swabey concludes:

“It is impossible to say what the long-term impact of the current crisis will be, either economically or in terms of changes to working practices. Some respondents believe that it will radically and irreparably change the global economic landscape and that some organisations will not survive, with the charity and arts sectors expected to be hit hard. Others are more optimistic and believe that it will create opportunities to serve clients in different ways. Some also feel that changes in working practices could help to improve companies’ green credentials if a reduction in face-to-face meetings means that fewer business trips are taken.  

“The one clear picture to emerge is that many expect an increase in home working. More hot desking in the future could lead to smaller premises being required once organisations do return to working in an office environment. Similarly, an increase in online shopping could see an increase in surplus shop space. Whatever the long-term effect, the lived experience that organisations are undergoing now should help them to make stronger and more robust plans for the future as they will have greater understanding of how their organisations really copy under sustained pressure.”  

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