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Over one year on from Lockdown 1.0 and with the UK still seeking the end of the covid-19 restrictions, the Quoted Companies Alliance, in collaboration with YouGov, undertook a survey to find out the latest sentiments on returning to the office from small and mid-sized quoted companies.

The survey revealed that:

  • Over 50% of small and mid-caps were operating with staff back in their work places by the second quarter of 2021
  • 21% had staff in the workplace throughout the pandemic
  • 32% had staff in the workplace after some period of complete closure
  • Approximately 90% of companies will have staff in the work place by September 2021 – with a large proportion of this return to occur  when all lockdown restrictions are lifted – now expected in July 2021 following the recent government announcement
  • 16% believed they would have all staff returning to the workplace with just over 50% planning to have part of their workforce in the workplace and part working remotely
  • 96% of companies felt they would have a more flexible approach to employees working remotely than they did before the pandemic

Companies are keen to get staff back into workplaces on at least a flexible basis, with nearly 4 in 5 stating that they will be communicating encouragement to return to work with employees.
0% of the companies that responded said they would offer incentives to return to work which could be in part due to lingering concerns for the health of staff and their families – an issue raised by 36% of respondents. There were also a small proportion that had legal concerns, perhaps in the case that staff that they had encouraged to return to the workplace caught Covid  their or on their journey. 
The recent post-covid return to the office progress has fed into record levels of optimism from quoted company directors and advisors. With scores of 71 and 69 respectively, economic optimism is currently at the highest level seen since the Sentiment Index began in Q3 2011, and comes after the Index reached its lowest ever point in Q2 2020. Although the recent announcement regarding the delay in the Covid recovery roadmap may dampen sentiments in the short-term. 


  • 62% of the respondents believed that they would see improved performance internally.
  • 56% believed that the wider UK economy would grow over the next 12 months

They also believed their workforces would increase by an average of 9.6% and their turnover would increase by an average of 21% in the next year. 
To view the full survey please visit : Quoted Companies Alliance Small & Mid-cap Sentiment Index (

Tim Ward, Chief Executive, The Quoted Companies Alliance said:
“There seems to be a strong link between companies’ plans for returning to the workplace and their all-time high optimism for their business prospects and that of the UK economy.
Businesses are emerging from lockdown in ways to suit them best whilst many have had staff in their workplaces throughout the pandemic. Our corporate members seem to be well ahead of advisory firms in this regard.
The new timeline for the end of restrictions may not help UK economic sentiment in the short term, however, we know small and mid-sized quoted companies will be able to adapt.”

Notes to the Editors: 
The survey was conducted between the 9th April and 5th May 2021 by YouGov. It includes a total of 131 respondents; 103 from small and mid-cap UK quoted companies and 28 from advisory companies.

For Further information please contact: 
Ruby Halabi
Communications Executive, The Quoted Companies Alliance
DD: 020 7397 8140

About The QCA
The Quoted Companies Alliance is the independent membership organisation that champions the interests of small to mid-size quoted companies. In 2019, there are around 1,250 small and mid-size quoted companies in the UK, representing 93% of all companies quoted on stock exchanges. They employ approximately 3 million people, representing 11% of private sector employment in the UK, and contribute over £26bn in annual taxes (source).

About YouGov

YouGov is an international research data and analytics group.
Their data-led offering supports and improves a wide spectrum of marketing activities of a customer base including media owners, brands and media agencies. They work with some of the world’s most recognised brands.
Their ground-breaking syndicated data solutions include the daily brand perception tracker, YouGov BrandIndex, and the media planning and segmentation tool, YouGov Profiles. Their market-leading YouGov Realtime service provides a fast and cost-effective solution for reaching nationally representative and specialist samples. YouGov’s Custom Research division offers a wide range of quantitative and qualitative research, tailored by sector specialist teams to meet clients’ specific requirements. YouGov | What the world thinks 

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