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A just-published report by Asianet has shed light on the impact of the pandemic on business worldwide, with a particular focus on the financial pressures they have experienced and how well they have adapted to working remotely.

Business finance and liquidity was cited by more than half (57%) of respondents – with small companies (61%) experiencing greater financial and liquidity issues than larger ones (54%).

While many countries have launched financial support initiatives – Hong Kong has its much publicised Employment Support Scheme – these have been generally been implemented slowly. This has been less of an issue for larger companies that have more ready access to banks and a larger fixed asset base making it easier for them to weather the financial stress, the report found.   

On a more positive note, almost two thirds (63%) of companies identified opportunities to add new products and services, during this time of crisis.

A total of 58% of organisations surveyed had a process or put in a place a system to keep track of and engage with their employees. More than 60% of respondents had appointed a person or committee and policies to coordinate responses to COVID-19.

Senior executives from more than 4000 companies across three continents – APAC, Europe and North America – were surveyed.

Remote working remains an issue
While many organisations introduced work from home, it was not happening effectively for almost half (48%) of the workforce. The reasons cited were the lack of appropriate workspace at home, particularly in Asia. While having only basic laptops or other device, while low speed internet connections was also a factor among some APAC countries, notably Australia.

As many countries implemented lockdown, children were also at home competing for access to the internet and increasing the possibility from work disruption.

In response to the so-called new normal, 40% of companies have identified the need to make changes to their company in the future. While 35 % reported that they are planning to restructure roles to meet the needs of the changed business environment.

The pandemic has also demonstrated to many organisations the importance of establishing facts quickly and accurately while ensuring that available information was not in the wrong format or in a different database.

Operationally the biggest impact on the workforce is that companies have been hampered by difficulties in delivering products and services 79%, combined with the inability to travel 63%.