— Google

Supporting small businesses in a hybrid world

As we all moved online during the pandemic, businesses learnt how to adapt quickly to stay connected to customers and employees.

We grew accustomed to using QR codes in place of queueing, online workouts instead of visiting the gym and video calls replacing real-life conversations. It’s estimated that in 2020, the use of technology leapt forward five years in about five months.

Now, as we make the switch to hybrid working and welcome the return of face-to-face experiences, businesses — including Google — are having to adapt again. New research we commissioned shows 60% of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) owners believe they are operating in a post-pandemic “new normal,” with customer and employee expectations dramatically altered.

And while there has been much focus on post-pandemic return-to-office for big businesses, 60% of SME leaders say they need more support to help adapt to the permanent changes brought about over the past two years.

Over a third (35%) of SMEs say they have changed their business radically, and 63% say that digital skills and tools are now more important than they were pre-pandemic, as they look to grow in a hybrid and more digitally mature world.

In spite of that, a majority of SME leaders find that it’s harder now to recruit staff with the right digital skills. They are eager for the next phase of digital skills that will support them: almost three quarters (72%) of businesses say they would be interested in government or third party funded digital skills training, and in incentives for providing training (68%). But many of them don’t know where to get help.

That’s why today, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, we’re launching the next phase of our in-person digital skills training, along with new support via Google Career Certificates to help small businesses adapt to this post-pandemic ‘new normal.’

Delivering in-person digital skills training nationwide

Starting today in Ipswich, Suffolk, our in-person Google Digital Garage team will be visiting towns and cities nationwide, making stops in places like Leeds, Lincolnshire, Salisbury and Glasgow, to teach small businesses and individuals digital skills that can help them maximize their potential. As well as classes on topics like ‘How to write a CV’, ‘Digital Marketing Strategy’ or ‘Coding,’ we’re offering one-to-one mentoring with digital experts.


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