The government ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ has prompted an increase in SME confidence: More than a fifth (21%) of small businesses expect their productivity to rise as children go back to school full time.
New research also suggests that more than a quarter (26%) of businesses will be able to resume ‘normal working hours’ without childcare demands – says a study by Enterprise Nation, commissioned by Starling Bank.
British business owners have been putting in longer hours since the schools closed, working more than four hours over the average working week. But with childcare and homeschooling no longer on the agenda, England and Wales-based SMEs are freed up to put this time into their business.
The data also indicated that a further 1-in-10 anticipate an increase in working hours from their employees, with 14% of small enterprises reporting that their business will be able to “get up and running properly” as their children get back to the classroom.
The government’s ‘roadmap out of lockdown’ has also led to an increase in confidence: 61% of business owners believe the easing of social distancing will allow them to start planning for the future again, and more than a quarter (27%) claim the plans have increased their appetite to expand their business.
Gareth K Thomas is a foster Dad to three children. He runs Clarified, a Cardiff-based digital consultancy, which designs and builds digital strategies for small businesses.
“In March 2020 I resigned myself to the fact that life would be fairly quiet until the pandemic was over. That didn’t turn out to be the case. I’ve been busier than ever, juggling the changing needs of clients and new business, all while homeschooling my three foster children. My time has been stretched so thinly that I’ve even had to turn a few prospective clients away, I simply didn’t have the time to take them on. The reopening of schools has given me the opportunity to focus on my business again. I’m looking forward to it.”
Symmie Swil, Head of SME Banking at Starling commented:
“More than half of our customers are parents and we’ve seen the determination that they’ve demonstrated in the face of the pandemic, juggling homeschooling with work commitments. The reopening of schools offers a welcome chance for entrepreneurs to refocus their efforts on managing their businesses and seeking opportunities to grow in these unpredictable times.”