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How Businesses Are Reacting to the Coronavirus Outbreak. Bitrix24 COVID-19 Survey Results.

Oksana Bednenko, Bitrix24, shares unique insight into how businesses are managing and responding to the current pandemic

With over 7 million organizations signing up with Bitrix24 since the launch in 2012, we have a unique insight into how businesses and the non-profit sector are adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, we ran a short survey in order to understand what effect the coronavirus has had so far, which industries adopted best and what future steps companies are planning.

But even before the survey results were in, we saw an almost instant reaction from businesses and civic leaders through stay-at-home orders and mandatory shutdowns. Like other remote collaboration platforms, we saw a significant increase in usage both from new and existing clients. For example, new Bitrix24 account signups were up 25%-40% on average during the third week of March. However, the dynamics were very different from country to country.

For instance, while the hardest hit countries inside the EU were Italy and Spain, new Bitrix24 signups there were up ‘only’ 48%, while Poland doubled, and Germany went through the roof with 219% weekly growth. These figures suggest that the differences in the economic structure AND attitudes toward working from home in different European countries are a major factor in how quickly and effectively each country can ‘go remote’.

Overall, globally only 41% of Bitrix24 users have reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them so far. The outlier here is Italy, where 83% of all businesses that rely on our platform have reported a significant impact. Perhaps most surprisingly, almost everywhere many organizations still believe that they’ll return to operating the way they were before the outbreak. Globally, 48% of all respondents plan no major changes, with 37% in Poland, 56% in Germany, 40% in Spain, 48% in Brazil.

Also unexpectedly, most businesses and non-profits do not plan any additional investments in tools that enable a distributed workforce. Overall, 59% of organizations said NO to paying for additional software or hardware for their employees who are working from home: 54% of Polish businesses won’t do it, the same goes for businesses in Germany, and with a whopping 73% in Brazil and 51% in Italy.

The number of organizations that use Bitrix24 and reported they can go and remain fully remote was quite high. This is likely the result of self-selection bias, as companies that use Bitrix24 are much more likely to represent the IT sector and have extensive remote collaboration experience even before COVID-19. When asked if 100% of all employees can work from home, 42% of all respondents said yes. The highest number (66%) was reported by Bitrix24 users in Spain and Latin America, with Brazil, Germany, Poland and Italy all reporting similar numbers (41%-46%).

Finally, the vast majority of the survey respondents reported that collaboration platforms like Bitrix24 were “crucial” to “very helpful” in making remote work possible. That number stood at 89% for Italy, 85% for Poland, 96% for Germany and Spain, 97% for Brazil and 95% globally.

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