Unprecedented levels of uncertainty around business continuity - is the key finding of the first major new national business survey conducted since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland on March 23 and 24 by Ibec - the group that represents Irish business.
Almost nine out of 10 businesses (86 per cent ) cited the uncertainty around the continuity of their business as a challenge at this time. Cost containment (78 per cent ), reduced / lost sales (72 per cent ), supply chain disruption (68 per cent ) and difficulty with remote working (64 per cent ) - were also key challenges noted as currently facing Irish business.
Commenting, Fergal O’Brien, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Ibec, said: "The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on business and society globally. The impact on business in Ireland has been dramatic on a macro level and in our survey, the most immediate challenge facing many businesses is how to continue to operate in a vastly altered business landscape.
"Even with the best planning and risk management in the world, the nature of this pandemic is very different to previous economic shocks. The sweeping nature of the restrictions imposed by the public health imperative has resulted in a huge supply side impact which has widespread implications in terms of lost sales, supply chain disruption and the need to contain costs.
"Since the onset of the crisis, Ibec has consistently made the case that we must prevent this supply side shock cascading into a demand shock which would permanently close some businesses and challenge the recovery.”
The Ibec survey also asked employers about the range of supports they are offering employees, with 44 per cent of respondents stating they are providing additional supports to employees working remotely, 40 per cent are providing online technology training to employees, and 35 per cent are offering additional supports to employees with childcare responsibilities.
The Ibec survey was conducted on March 23 and 24, with responses from 440 companies across Ireland. Almost two in five of respondents were from companies with 50 employees or fewer, while just over one in five responses were from organisations with over 250 employees.