Study shows well managed firms have weathered Covid better

A new study suggests a link between well managed firms and their ability to adapt to Covid.

Woman in wheelchair working at laptop in kitchen


Better managed firms have been better able to adapt to homeworking than others and have therefore maintained their productivity during Covid, according to an Office for National Statistics Study.

The study shows that the main determinants of good management in British businesses are firm size, firm age and employee human capital and that these have not changed significantly during the coronavirus pandemic.

It says good management practices, especially processes focused on managing change – based on continuous improvement, key performance indicators, targets and employment practices – have not only made it easier for firms to adapt to new practices like homeworking and online sales during the pandemic, but have meant employers have retained their labour productivity advantage over comparable peers during 2020.

The study says: “Larger firms are better managed than otherwise comparable smaller firms. Similarly, younger firms appear to be better managed. Human capital among both managers and non-managers, as approximated by the share of employees with degrees, also strongly predicts management score. This suggests that some management practices might be embodied in the skills and knowledge of the workforce, or that a certain level of human capital is needed for modern management practices to work.”

Another set of data on homeworking released today shows the divide between those who worked from home during a specific snapshot week in 2020 and those who didn’t. They show that senior managers and managers in professional jobs, such as communication, finance and professional services, who lived in the south east region were most likely to work from home.

According to the figures, 25.9% of UK workers did their jobs at home at some point last year, up from 12.4% in 2019, with 46.4% of London-based staff working at home at some point in 2020, compared with 13.7% in Middlesbrough. Of the sectors most likely to work remotely, it was found that 69.2% of those with jobs in information and communication roles have worked from home.

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