Where 12% were optimistic of growth on exit from lockdown, over one quarter (26%) said they expected their organisations to contract in size.
Of all the management levels asked (including senior management, line managers and team leaders), CEOs were most optimistic about growth following the crisis, followed by the self-employed.
Kate Cooper, head of research, policy and standards at The Institute of Leadership & Management, suggested that this confidence, particularly from CEOs, could be due to the ways organisations have been able to rapidly adapt to the crisis.
Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “Many organisations have been genuinely surprised at how quickly they've been able to switch to homeworking, but had it been planned it would have anticipated taking many, many more months and much more investment [...] Such success will inspire optimism.
“A CEO, looking at the organisation [...] would think that if we can do this, we can pivot. We can change our business model, we can develop new and different ways of delivering our products and services – we can adapt and that means we will survive.”
In a promising finding for the economy, only 1% said they expected their workplace to go out of business.
Cooper added that this finding was "encouraging."
She said: "Lockdown has, in many organisations, created new ‘can do’ cultures, with 92 per cent of workers believing their workplaces have adjusted well to the changes. This suggests that many leaders and managers have a new confidence not only in their own resilience but also in that of their teams.”
In sector-specific results, those in education feared contraction of their organisations the most. This was followed by those in professional services/consultancy, engineering/manufacturing/construction, then charities.
As job uncertainty pervades employee's concerns, and others may have disagreed with how their employers have handled the crisis, 20% of people said they think they will move to a different company after the pandemic.
"We have heard from a lot of sources that this time at home has meant many people’s lives have slowed down, certainly socially. For many it has been a time for reflection and has put work under a different spotlight, because it's been in our homes mixed up with all the other work; work, life boundaries, not being in a separate place,” Cooper said.
“For this group, lockdown might well have been a time for introspection and questioning, “Does my work have meaning? Is this what I want to continue to do?””The Institute of Leadership & Management Life After Lockdown survey is based on the responses of 1,256 business leaders and managers.