‘Coming out of Covid, what is the change from a business owner’s perspective?’ asks Ray Abercromby from Azets

Downtown Birmingham in Business were delighted to join forces with Azets to host the ‘Professionals in the City – the new world post-Covid’ lunch on 10th March at the brilliant Fazenda Rodizio Bar and Grill.
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Downtown Birmingham in Business were delighted to join forces with Azets to host the ‘Professionals in the City – the new world post-Covid’ lunch on 10th March at the brilliant Fazenda Rodizio Bar and Grill. DIB Director Chris McKenna was joined by Ray Abercromby, Partner at Azets, and other members of the Azets team to discuss business planning in the post-Covid era.

Ray began by reflecting on the 2008 recession and used this as a comparison with the unprecedented and extremely unique nature of the recession that the Covid pandemic has caused. He stated that both recessions demanded robustness and resilience in business, however, the operational issues that Covid brought required diversification and creating new solutions.

Work from home was a major talking point. After over forty years of presenteeism and hard work being intertwined and praised, how would business owners trust their employees to work from home and keep productivity up? Ray discussed the pros and cons of flexible working provoking delegates to reflect on their own experiences. The majority agreed that human interaction was the biggest loss, however, Lauren Walker from OneHR highlighted the importance of choice. Furthermore, many business owners mentioned the importance of being in the office for the benefit of junior staff, graduates and work placements to facilitate learning.

Employee expectations and retention was another focal point of discussion. Recruitment was raised as an issue not only due to flexible working and Covid but also due to the impact of HS2, as upscaled London salaries have and may continue to diffuse across the country. Additionally, salary expectations have shifted with inflation and also as a consequence of the Levelling Up agenda. A change in employee priorities, especially amongst graduates and the younger generation of the work force, from materialistic goods to freedom and leisure was also noted. There was agreement that a company’s working culture is and will continue to be very important for employee satisfaction and retention. The general conclusion was that ‘your business has to adapt around your people’, creating opportunities within the business.

Overall, the event allowed business owners to have an open discussion, with Ray Abercromby opening very thought-provoking debates about the transition from Covid towards post-pandemic working.

We would like to thank Fazenda for their outstanding hospitality and service.

If you would like to attend one of our upcoming events, please view our events calendar page or contact kj.clarke@downtowninbusiness.com.

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