A quarter of UK bosses (27 percent) have failed to address their staff via video conference to update them on the implications of the Covid-19 crisis. The news comes as projections suggest a surge in UK unemployment figures, with over half a million workers signing-on on for universal credit. 

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The polling forms part of a new 1,500-word report entitled Covid-19: Isolation Nation, produced by the Parliament Street think tank, examining the implications that the Coronavirus outbreak will have for UK businesses.

The report, which was conducted after the government’s formal ‘lockdown’ rules, provides a detailed analysis of the opinions of 200 senior business decision-makers in large and medium-sized companies across the UK on remote working plans and employee initiatives designed to help staff through the pandemic.

Other key findings of the report include that two in 10 companies have struggled with managing their payroll remotely, with 21 percent expecting delays to salary payments this month.  Meanwhile, just under one third (31 percent) say they have experienced their video conferencing system crash at least once in the last three weeks during a crucial meeting.

In terms of IT resources, 58 percent of companies have ordered new laptops, tablet computers, and mobiles to manage 100% remote working. Crucially, one third (33 percent) have done so without upgrading their security systems. Additionally, 34 percent of businesses said they had hired external IT support to cope with the surge in remote working.

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The research also revealed that companies were continuing to operate as usual, despite the crisis. 38 percent said they were continuing to enable digital skills training via video link. 42 percent have introduced quizzes and online team tasks to boost morale. Additionally, 27 percent have conducted annual performance reviews and promotions with individual staff members via video link.

However, 34 percent of business decision-makers said they had received at least one complaint from a member staff of mental health fears in the last three weeks.