Staff working from home for style retailer Next have suffered “death by deck” throughout on-line shows and missed out on workplace camaraderie, the corporate mentioned.
Next mentioned general the affect of the pandemic on enterprise had been “expensive and miserable”.
But it had additionally seen some benefits from the upheaval, it mentioned.
Next mentioned it anticipated some home working to proceed, and that the stability would “evolve over time”
Announcing its monetary outcomes for the primary six months of the yr, together with a 34% drop in gross sales over the worst of the lockdown, the style chain mentioned some good had come from the expertise.
“It is remarkable what can be learnt from shutting down your entire operation and slowly, department by department, store by store, warehouse by warehouse, bringing it back to life,” Next mentioned in an announcement.
Warehouses and name centres had turn into extra environment friendly, and workers in different areas had been compelled to make extra of latest know-how, it mentioned.
But having workers “sitting in their spare bedrooms, kitchens and conservatories” had had a combined outcomes.
Next mentioned video calls for big teams had proved “unwieldy, frustrating and inefficient”.
“Worst of all perhaps, large video calls have encouraged the proliferation of one of the business world’s most damaging practices – death by deck: slideshow presentations that transform meetings from productive exchanges of ideas into boring, one-way lectures; with the ‘presenters’ rattling through bullet points already visible to their stultified audience,” it mentioned.
Next mentioned the largest downside with home working was the dearth of spontaneous conversations, and the possibility to study from colleagues.
On the opposite hand it had allowed folks to focus extra successfully on some solitary duties, together with programs coding and product design. Restrictions on abroad travel meant patrons had used video calls quite than visiting suppliers and selections had been not “saved up” for journeys.
Next mentioned that had empowered people and been liberating.
“With hindsight, it appears that the corporate machine was supporting the inexperienced and the less able, but holding back the strong,” Next mentioned.
The 34% fall in gross sales noticed wedding ceremony outfits and work garments notably badly hit. However, enterprise had confirmed “more resilient than we expected”, the agency mentioned.
Pre-tax revenue was £9m for first half of the yr.
Next mentioned it was lucky that half of its revenues had been already coming from on-line gross sales earlier than the onset of the pandemic.
It additionally mentioned gross sales held up higher at Next’s out-of-town shops, which clients can drive to extra simply.
Home, youngsters’s put on, loungewear and sportswear gross sales did nicely.
Next has revised its revenue forecast for the total yr from £195m to £300m.