Small businesses will spend £23bn this year on making premises Covid safe, according to research by financial services provider Hitachi Capital.
Office risk assessments, signs, sanitising products, professional cleaning and air filtering systems are forecast to cost every UK small business about £4,850 each on average this year, the equivalent of just under £23bn in total.
Hitachi Capital surveyed 1,500 small businesses for its survey.
- Fixed premises will cost on average £5,443 this year to be Covid safe
- Outdoor on onsite businesses cost on average £5,446 to be Covid safe
- Businesses offering home working expect to spend on average £3,660
Small business that is completely working remotely (20 per cent of those surveyed) will have the smallest Covid-secure costs, with 68 per cent not spending anything on disease control and 21 per cent spending less than £1,000 per company.
Losing money to keep Covid safe
Meanwhile, one third of small businesses are losing money by sacrificing customer numbers to keep Covid safe, according to a separate Iwoca survey.
A quarter of small businesses are experiencing fewer sales because of coronavirus social distancing, the survey found. Four out of 10 small businesses say maintain a Covid-secure workplace is “significantly” or “very significantly” impacting how their business operates.
One in four businesses spend over an hour a day cleaning and sanitising their offices or premises, to keep them Covid safe.
Darren Stanley, CEO of events company OnFyre, told Iwoca: “There’s also a huge additional cost having to maintain a Covid-secure workplace. I had to employ five extra staff members at a recent event costing me an extra £250.”
However, almost a third of SMEs are now trading more than they were pre-Covid.
Seema Desai, chief operating officer of Iwoca, said: “As restrictions are being eased, many small business owners are chomping at the bit to recover their full potential. It’s encouraging to see that a third are trading more than they were in pre-Covid times, and hopefully we’ll see even more businesses recover once restrictions can be fully lifted around the UK.”