June 19, 2024

Client meals and staff parties: £1,000s saved by businesses during lockdown

  • 70 per cent of SMEs saved up to £840 a month during lockdown on utilities and employee costs
  • Employee food and drink was the biggest cost saving for businesses
  • Staff wellbeing and a reduced carbon footprint are also benefits from new remote working

Nearly two thirds of businesses (64%) have over half of their workforce currently working from home. With many businesses working from home during the pandemic, this has improved carbon footprints and enhanced employee wellbeing, as well as helping businesses save money on their operational costs.

New research conducted by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, with UK SME business owners, reveals the costs savings made by SME businesses when it comes to employee expenses and client entertainment.

Amongst the savings businesses made during lockdown, the following were in the top five most common:

  1. Employee food and drink – 53%
  2. Employee travel – 48%
  3. Cleaning services – 45%
  4. Catering client meetings – 36%
  5. Rent and utilities – 36%

When comparing costs before and during lockdown, over 70 per cent of businesses saved up to £840 per month on cleaning services and employee costs, a cost which could save SMEs up to £10,000 a year.

As well as cost savings, businesses also agreed that there are other advantages to be had when it comes to having staff work from home. The main benefits business owners identified were improving employee work life balance (54%) and reducing the carbon footprint of the company (48%).

Other benefits also included reducing office space costs (45%), reducing absenteeism (36%) and retaining staff (32%), all of which are crucial to maintaining a healthy bottom line during this period.

The new study by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance also reveals that one third of businesses plan to have over half of their workforce working remotely on a permanent basis after the current pandemic ends.

Out of those surveyed, 12 per cent of SMEs plan for nearly all their staff (91-100%) to work from home on a permanent basis.

“Following the past few months, many SME businesses have been able to understand first-hand the benefits of remote working. This is likely to have a strong impact on future decisions when it comes to SMEs assessing their business needs long-term,” comments Andy Dodd, Managing Director at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance.

To help manage company finances, many SMEs have used one or more of the Government schemes such as placing workers on furlough leave (35%), claiming business rates relief (25%) and using the coronavirus Future Fund (23%).

There are many different types of support available to small businesses right now and it can sometimes be confusing to know which is right for your business. Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance have created a guide for SMEs in their new report here.