Whenever Coronavirus is mentioned it naturally makes you think about the negative impact and the millions of people around the world who have sadly lost their lives. Here, however, we’re seeking to shine a light on some good old UK resilience and powering through as things start to improve and go back to something resembling normality.
As we entered 2021 the UK was facing a third period of lockdown. England, Scotland, Wales and both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were all shutting down once again in order to prevent any further spread of COVID-19 which was beginning to spiral out of control.
At such a difficult time it’s always hard to focus on anything else, especially our professional lives, but working from home has now become almost the norm with thousands of people converting spare bedrooms or kitchen tables into makeshift office spaces - and this new approach to working is starting to show new trends in overall business performance.
Signs of uplift and new business opportunities
Here at Meet Hugo we’ve been keeping a close eye on the number and types of leads that we’ve identified and sent out to our subscribers in the last few months, and there are definitely some trends that are developing. Our in-house researchers have looked into the detail and found some very encouraging news for UK businesses in particular.
The North West of England has long been a popular part of the country for digital businesses and is now genuinely rivalling London as the go-to region for all things digital. With major cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, combined with short distances to other major cities including Leeds and Birmingham and ever-improving public transport connections to London, Newcastle, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow; the North West is now regarded as something of a digital hotspot in the UK and host to some of the country’s major conferences and events.
This is something that our researchers have looked into in detail over the last few months.
They’ve discovered that a staggering £3.4 million-worth of new business opportunities were submitted by companies in the North West searching for digital services including digital marketing, SEO, PPC, web design and development and video production.
Across the North West people have been working from home for almost, if not more than a year now, and city centres are like ghost towns at 9am rather than hustling and bustling with commuters on public transport services and business meetings in coffee shops. However, the amount of money that businesses are clearly looking to invest in the services that can be offered by employees working from home has shown that this period - while undoubtedly difficult for those working in their bedrooms and kitchens - has enabled us to work in a similar way to how we did pre-pandemic.
Perhaps most interesting is the fact that, of this £3.4 million, more than £2.5 million of opportunities were direct tenders or RFPs.
This shows that companies were actively putting out contracts for work - not just tentative leads, but genuine growth opportunities which is incredibly exciting for an economy, and nation, looking to rebuild after a year unlike any other.
A further £926,000-worth of opportunities were related to intelligence.
Our research team found businesses were willing to test the water to learn more about the types of services that are available to them and what they might be able to afford for their budgets prior to putting that work out to tender.
All of this is incredibly encouraging, regardless of what sector you work in or where you’re located. Not only are businesses starting to re-open their doors, but they are actively searching for growth opportunities which may be brought about by offering new services or investing in services that will lead them to improve their offering and quality of the proposals they can provide.
While the UK is in no way “back to normal” and the pandemic has potentially changed the way we work forever, this data shows us that working from home has enabled businesses to re-evaluate their products and services - and their ways of working - and now, with light at the end of the tunnel, there are not just signs of recovery, but genuine opportunity.