ARE IRISH EXECUTIVES SET UP FOR SUCCESS THROUGH COVID-19?

 byCaroline Baldwin.
 Published: 30/03/2020

Resilience and persistence prevail

In these extraordinary times, organisations are being forced to explore new ways of ensuring business continuity. Accreate wanted to give our extensive network of Executives the opportunity to tell us now how they are doing in this changed environment. In particular we were keen to understand whether executives feel they are set up to work remotely, how productive this mode of working is proving, and how customers are reacting to the changing environment. Finally, we explored how executives are approaching business networking in “cyber” land.

Infographic 1Who we asked:

Accreate checked in with its extensive network of Executives in Ireland to hear their insights on how they are managing their businesses at this extraordinary time. We received and collated responses from over 200 Executives currently working in Ireland.

The key findings include:

  • The vast majority (88%) of Executives believe that remote working is proving productive.
  • Only a tiny minority of responders indicated that they are not well set up to work from home (2%).
  • Infographic 284% believe they are set up “well” to carry out their roles from their home office.

  • When asked whether Covid-19 will impact their business, only 7% believe the crisis will have a positive effect on their trading; 63% expect a negative impact and 31% foresee a moderate effect.
  • Infographic 3Conversely, customers are still active in the market. 80% of those responding gave feedback that there remains an active or moderate interest from their clients to buy their goods/services. Having said this there were indications that generating new business is challenging. In particular, there is an understandable reluctance to “hard-sell” in this environment.

  • Infographic 4A considerable number of business leaders indicated that they had stopped networking activity (17%). The reasons for this were varied including prioritising current pressing business challenges to a lack of know-how on how to network in this new remote environment.

The Covid-19 pandemic is challenging for everyone, and the situation is changing daily. The current period of unpredictability brings unique complexities for businesses and it is encouraging to see that business leaders are adapting, they have the capabilities in place, and remote working is proving to be highly productive.

New technology means top executives can stay productive, take part in critical meetings, stay in touch with their departments, and lead their teams on-the-go. Indeed, flexible working with the option of working from home, which up to this was seen as an optional employee benefit is now mandatory for many businesses if they are to survive and continue their business activities.

The focus has shifted to minimising disruption and helping to maintain business continuity.

It is however is concerning that quite a large number of respondents believe their businesses will be negatively impacted by the currently crisis. The public health measures we have taken, while necessary, will take a significant toll on many of businesses. Business development networking and new client generation have grinded to a halt and the pandemic is raising many uncertainties and questions about the way business will now be conducted in Ireland - and around the world.

My overriding impression reading through the feedback was one of resilience and persistence. Many respondents indicated that they are incredibly busy and active, working tirelessly to support their business community, while also reassuring clients of their ability to provide continuity of service at all times. There is a real sense of togetherness and a shared goal to persist and protect people over all things.