The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to make significant, and potentially lasting, changes. It also marks a moment in history that has brought us together to problem-solve and reflect on our purpose and what we value.

As a business we have worked closely with our clients in every industry and every function; helping them adjust rapidly to the changing needs of their people, their customers and suppliers. At the same time, as an employer we have done our best to keep our people and our communities engaged and cared for in unprecedented times, putting their health and well-being at the top of our agenda.

Everyone is going through a reset. While some changes may be temporary, this reset is likely to alter what it means to be part of a society and community.

Leaders must concentrate their attention on the intersection of social impact and brand—now, in the coming year and in the “never normal” future.

"Planning for the future is more challenging than ever, but there are real opportunities to turn massive complexity into meaningful change."

— OLLY BENZECRY, Chairman and Managing Director for Accenture, U.K. and Ireland

One of our top priorities is gender equality. An Accenture report on the impact of COVID-19 found that women across all social groups have been disproportionately disadvantaged by the pandemic. Women’s earnings have fallen by 16.5% on average since COVID-19 hit, compared with a drop of 10.1% for men. The proportion of women with easy access to healthcare has also dropped from 69% pre-pandemic to just 32%, while half of women say levels of tension and stress in their household have risen over the past 12 months. This is something we must act on now.

Planning for the future is more challenging than ever, but there are real opportunities to turn massive complexity into meaningful change. Now is a chance to help businesses transform to be more equal, more resilient, and more sustainable. Emerging stronger from this crisis is critical for us all.

– Olly Benzecry, Chairman and Managing Director for Accenture, U.K. and Ireland

1. Our people

As an organisation we have always been well-equipped for remote working so we were able to move our entire UK workforce to homeworking at pace.

As our workforce adapted to an entirely homeworking reality, we helped them with that change, offering advice on how to work remotely and tools that would help them thrive.

We also acknowledged that the changes brought on by the pandemic could have an impact on our people’s mental health. Through awareness campaigns, a schedule of health and wellness webinars, and learning programmes like Thriving Mind, which breaks down the science of stress, we encouraged our people to ensure they were getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising—and generally being kind to themselves.

12.5K

Hours during the first lockdown in March 2020.

22%

Of our people in the U.K. participated in Emerge Stronger 10-day Quest.

Our people initiatives include

Training

To show our commitment to developing our people, a company-wide training initiative encouraged them to use down time to upskill.

Emerge stronger 10-day quest

To encourage a positive outlook, our 10-day campaign offered a new theme each day to help our people feel connected, motivated and supported while working remotely.

The Art of Kindness

For Mental Health Awareness Week, our people teamed up with illustrator Giulia Sagramola to create a short graphic novel inspired by acts of kindness.

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2. Our clients

We're helping our clients to see the opportunities amongst the challenges. To embrace this moment and make responsible, positive changes. To become more agile, reduce risk and create value well into the future.

In addition to general thought leadership, we’re publishing industry-specific analysis, gauging the impact and lasting effects of COVID-19 on automotive, banking, consumer goods and services, media, energy, health, public service and other sectors.

3. Community

The impact of COVID-19 was deeply felt in our local communities, so we continued our efforts to help the workforce.

Accenture’s Digital Skills course on social media was part of the U.K. government’s Skills Toolkit for furloughed workers. More than 50,000 people completed courses in April alone.

We also helped Internship Experience U.K. develop three-day online internship experiences for students and graduates across the country to help them gain skills, boost employability and build their network virtually during the pandemic.

Other initiatives include

NHSmail: Connecting care teams

We worked with Microsoft, NHS Digital and NHSX to introduce Microsoft Teams for 1.2 million NHSmail users within seven days.

Coordinating production of medical ventilators for UK

Working with Rolls-Royce, as part of VentilatorChallengeUK to coordinate production of medical ventilators urgently needed for the UK’s health service.

NHS Nightingale: Designing staff experience

WhatIf innovation consultancy, part of Accenture, designed the experience for 20,000+ medical staff at the 4,000-bed NHS Nightingale temporary hospitals.

Helpforce: Scaling aid from businesses

Supported Helpforce—which matches help requests with firms’ offers of people, goods, services—move its operations on to Salesforce Service Cloud.

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Reboot: Delivering technology to those that need it most

Accenture, Nominet and others created a platform to mobilise grassroots groups to support the digitally excluded by delivering devices to those who need them most. (And we donated 964 devices too!)

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