UK businesses optimistic heading into 2022

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Like many businesses, Solopress heads into 2022 with cautious optimism. We all have a couple of years of pandemic experience under our belts now, and the ground we stand on is beginning to feel a little more solid. With proven plans in place, and an exciting schedule of new strategies and products lined-up, the future is looking a lot more assured.

With that in mind, we were curious about how recent events have affected our B2B customers and business partners, and what factors have influenced their plans for 2022. We decided to reach out to them with a survey covering aspects such as recruitment, working practices, marketing and their plans for growth.  As well as satisfying our own curiosity, we knew that the data would provide some interesting insights for our business customers.

The results were encouraging, with businesses of all sizes heading into 2022 with an optimistic spring in their step. Our fascinating findings also challenged some widespread notions about suppressed recruitment, performance and marketing activity. Here are some noteworthy highlights from the data.

Recruitment and working practices

It seems popular to claim that recruitment is nigh-on impossible right now. However, while 40% of our respondents are finding recruitment more of a challenge now than before the pandemic, a solid 60% are finding it easier or the same.

When we asked about the methods employers are using to entice new recruits, we saw a markedly strong showing for ‘flexible working’. Widespread shifts in working practices during the pandemic taught employers that it’s possible to offer far greater flexibility without compromising on productivity. An added bonus is that flexible working practices are a great way to attract job applicants.
By offering remote working, recruiters can cast their net over a far greater geographical area. A staggering 90% of our respondents had introduced remote working during the pandemic, with 77% of those feeling that it had benefitted their business as a whole.

While remote working has been a surprise success story thanks to benefits around flexibility and recruitment, most of the businesses we spoke to have been happy to welcome colleagues back into the office.

When we asked about how a return to work has affected morale and creativity, we got a positive, albeit slightly mixed, response. The next step for employers could be to assess where remote working was successful and where benefits were gained from returning to shared workspaces. The good news is that so many businesses are now in an informed position to strike the perfect balance between home and on-site working.

Customer Demand

Of course, events of the past two years have had a wide ranging impact on the performance of businesses across many sectors. We were pleased to find, however, that the lion’s share of respondents in our survey were pretty bullish about the future.

It was no surprise to hear that demand was suppressed during the pandemic.

Happily, over half of businesses surveyed reported a recovery following the lifting of restrictions.

Beyond recovery, 59% saw the opportunity to further grow their businesses post-pandemic.

Opportunities and Innovation

It’s an ill wind that blows no good, and for dynamic businesses, the challenges brought about by the pandemic have brought opportunities to adapt and diversify. 81% of the businesses we asked felt the pandemic had led them to seize new opportunities.

69% even felt that recent events had pushed them to become yet more innovative.
Marketing

With demand rising and innovation flourishing, businesses need to maintain the channels through which they communicate with their audiences. In fact, 74% of our respondents foresaw an increase in marketing activity in the coming year.

We were encouraged to see that 79% of those surveyed said that they do current consider sustainability when looking into their marketing activity.

What’s even more encouraging is that 87% are planning on taking giving yet more priority to sustainability in the future.

 

Future ambitions

With a pandemic-induced global recession still ongoing, businesses can be forgiven for taking a defensive position. It’s encouraging then to find that 81% of businesses in our survey have ambitions to expand.

And when asked what their New Year’s resolutions were, our cohort proved themselves to be a kind and caring bunch by putting the well-being of staff right at the top of the agenda!

So plenty of reasons to be cheerful as we head into 2022. It’s looking like a promising year for employees as they’re courted by recruiters, furnished with flexible hours and granted favourable working conditions. And for employers, it’s looking like an ambitious year filled with revived demand, revitalised marketing activity and renewed aspirations for growth.