Press release. Bucharest, March 18, 2020
Covid-19 measures in the business services industry: employees work from home in 98% of companies
According to a survey conducted by the Association of Business Service Leaders in Romania (ABSL) between March 12 and 16, focusing on the Covid-19 pandemic, 98% of the companies in the industry took as the main measure: working from home.
In 43% of the companies in the industry, between 90 and 100% of the employees work from home during this period.
20% of companies replied that around 70 – 80% of their employees now work from home, while in 16% of companies the percentage of employees working at home is between 50 – 60%.
Other measures taken by the companies in the industry are: limiting internal meetings, changing the work schedule to avoid the rush hour, daily sanitizing the office spaces, home delivery to employees of the technical equipments necessary to carry out the employees’ activity at home.
Many participating companies in the survey have taken strict measures since the end of February, by limiting travel and event participation.
“Fortunately, our industry is perhaps the best prepared for insulation. Even the outsourcing concept says this intrinsically. There are activities that are done by definition remote. 57% of the companies in the industry have specified in the survey that they will work in this way indefinitely, while about 40% of the companies took these measures until the end of March (with the possibility of extension, depending on the situation)” says Cătălin Iorgulescu, Vice President – ABSL.
According to the survey, working at home has been one of the most attractive benefits to employees in recent years, before the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, 71% of companies granted employees the opportunity to work from home, at least one day a week, as a benefit.
Regarding the impact of the pandemic on business, 51% of companies estimate that the situation will have an average impact on the revenues made this year.
“At the end of 2019 we estimated a 10% increase for the current year. This objective will probably be difficult to achieve in the current context. Although we have easily adapted to the new situation and the way we work from home, in such a large percentage, our customers in Europe, USA and Asia will be affected, which will have an impact on the business services industry in Romania. Probably we will not have such a large volume of projects, the companies most affected being those that have clients in the area of production, insurance and claims.
It is clear that the business environment needs coherent measures and support from the central administration. For example, the companies’ debts to the State accumlated in these months could be staggered over a longer period (up to 2 years), without interest charges. This means an increase of 2 – 5% at the usual monthly fees, corresponding to a low activity period of 1 – 2 months” says Dragoș Ștefan, ABSL President.
In order to limit any negative impact on quality and productivity of work, most companies in the industry establish daily online meetings and reports, with very clear targets and use communication, monitoring and performance analysis tools.
For employees who cannot work from home (in departments such as HR, customer services, physical documents processing or technical personnel who have to ensure the maintenance of the equipment) the companies have ensured that they will not use the means of public transport (offering paid taxi services) / “Ride sharing”, fuel/company car, additional parking spaces), rearrangement of office space, ensuring a distance of 2 m between offices, flexibility work time to avoid crowded periods, protective measures (monitoring the temperature of employees and employees, daily sanitation of the office space, as well as measures to supplement the disinfectants).
The business services industry generated revenues last year of over 4.5 billion Euros, reaching over 2% of GDP.
The sector comprises 280 companies and over 131,000 employees, i.e. 2.4% of the total employees in the Romanian economy.
49 companies participated in this survey, totalling about 27,000 employees. The survey took place between March 12-16.