Latest figures from ORESA show how UK CEOs are being affected by lockdown

An increasing number (35%) of UK based CEOs and senior business leaders feel that lockdown has negatively affected their ability to do their job – a figure that has risen by 8% since May. Signs of weariness are emerging with maintaining a healthy work-life balance becoming ever more challenging; 45% of leaders are now working more hours than they were before the pandemic, and 62% are reassessing their work life balance – again, both higher than May by 6% and 20% respectively.

These figures are according to growth architects, ORESA, who is today releasing its second ‘Navigating C19’ report. ORESA surveyed almost 200 business leaders from a breadth of sectors in May, and again in June, to better understand how they are feeling, adapting their thinking and evolving their strategies during the pandemic.

Positive signs for the future  

55% of businesses are currently ‘innovating or building a new plan’, and while 13% are still ‘firefighting’ (up 3% from May) it appears that generally leaders are feeling slightly more confident, with 46% saying trading conditions have improved over the last month. 44% of respondents said they would be willing to take a lower salary, which could be perceived as good news for companies looking to cut costs.

“As the novelty of working from home wears off, the risks of anxiety and poor work-life balance are on the rise – it’s vital that leaders work optimally, not to the bone, to avoid burnout. There is some light at the end of the proverbial Zoom call, however. The majority of companies we spoke to said they will reopen their offices within the next three months, and an increasing number are looking to recruit,” says Orlando Martins, CEO & Founder, ORESA.

Award-winning CEO Coach Peter Ryding, who has been supporting CEOs and HR Directors during lockdown says this research confirms what he has observed in his weekly webinars:

“CEOs and HR Directors are under incredible pressure at the moment – the responsibility for balancing the needs of the wellbeing of their staff and maintaining business performance have weighed heavy on them and we have held weekly webinars to support our coaching clients and HRD Pathfinder members through this period.  This research supports what many Directors have told us – but the good news is that we, too, are seeing an increase in positivity as things are returning to a new normal, allbeit in a VUCA environment.”

Job security and recruitment

When it comes to employment, 41% of leaders will look to recruit over the next three months, and remote hiring is starting to become normalised, with 40% happy to employ and on-board someone without having met them in person – a figure up 11% from May. Over three quarters (78%) of leaders say that recruitment will be focused on those with broader skill sets, rather than single subject experts, suggesting that there will be fewer, but better, jobs available.

“While there is no silver bullet for business success, strategy, structure and leadership talent are promising areas to place focus. We’re advising CEOs and boards that they’ll need adaptability, innovation and creativity in large doses, if they are to weather the storm” Martins concludes.

For more information please find the full report here.

Other significant findings:

  • Just over half of business leaders (54%) are confident about their job security
  • 77% will retain a head office, but 80% won’t be there as often
  • 75% of offices are already open or will open in the next three months. 5% of offices will stay permanently shut
  • 94% of leaders will not expect staff to return to the office if safety or travel is a concern, and 67% will allow staff to work from home at least some of the time in future
  • 51% of businesses intend to source more locally