Belfast businesses see productivity boost amid lockdown

Belfast City Hall

New research suggests Northern Irish businesses maintain productivity, amid losses

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23 April 2020 | 0

A survey of smaller businesses across the UK has suggested that Belfast businesses have seen an average loss of £119,862 (€137,396) per company due to the COVID-19 crisis.

According to a survey by freelance platform service provider Fiverr, the average loss per SME due the public health crisis was £277,000 (€317,682).

However, Belfast business reported that the majority had either maintained or raised productivity. Some 39% reported increases in productivity, despite the prevailing conditions, compared with just 24% in Cardiff, and a high of 51% in Manchester.

 

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This may be due in no small part to the use and availability of freelancers of all kinds, as more than two thirds (69%) of Belfast SMEs turned to freelancers to cope with the conditions. This is compared with 58% for the rest of the UK.

Despite the losses experienced and the difficult conditions, more than threequarters (76%) of smaller Belfast businesses remained optimistic on the prospect of remote working. However, nearly half (45%) blame the government for a lack of preparedness for the COVID-19 crisis.

“The Covid crisis has clearly taken a heavy toll on Belfast businesses, but the city is holding up relatively well in commercial terms when compared to the rest of the UK,” said Liron Smadja, director local marketing, Fiverr

“Whilst the SMEs we spoke to estimate it’s cost them almost £120,000 per company, this is under half the UK average of £277,000.

“And this discrepancy shows in the sentiment we’ve seen – as Belfast business tend to be more optimistic than other cities generally. Fully 59% of them said they feel optimistic about the future for their business once lockdown has passed, which is well above the national average of 54%.”

“The key driver for this optimism seems to be Belfast’s capacity to work flexibly, as 69% of Belfast SMEs say they’re turning to freelancers more than they did before lockdown – compared to a UK average 58%. And further, a whopping 76% are optimistic about the prospect of using remote working in future – a figure that is well above the UK average of just 69%,” said Smadja.

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