Post pandemic: many offices plan to continue work-from-home flexibility
CFOSP survey paints a bright picture for the back half of 2021
The vaccination program across the country is picking up speed. Still, many businesses that abandoned their offices during the pandemic may not be in a rush to come back.
Some companies never changed the way they did business. However, those that did adjust operations and where employees worked might not be transitioning back – especially before the end of the year.
Recently, CFO Strategic Partners released a survey to discover how the latest Covid-19 updates are affecting plans for 2021 and business leaders’ attitudes for recovery. It showed companies that started work-from-home programs aren’t ready to abandon them just yet. Also, companies report they don’t expect salaries to change just because there’s more flexibility in the workplace.
The survey displayed a sharp divide between companies on the economic impact of this new flexibility – there was nearly a three-way split on whether participants thought remote work would lead to increased revenue, decreased revenue or not affect revenue at all.
Overall, seven out of 10 participants expect brighter days ahead in the third and fourth quarter.
This survey was answered by people from a wide range of industries including construction, professional services, healthcare, hospitality, insurance and more. See below for a full breakdown of our results.
Businesses have introduced in-person and remote options
Nearly 60 percent of businesses surveyed have introduced flexible options of some sort including being completely remote or alternating schedules. Several respondents commented they made special exceptions for those with underlying medical conditions and another commented their percentage of workforce that worked remotely had simply increased due to the pandemic. Many indicated they have more workers than ever before working, at least some days, from home.
While many people have already returned to the office, a significant number of businesses remain remote
More than half of the companies reported they’re back to the office in some form. But for those companies continuing to work remotely, there’s not a set consensus on when, or if, they will even return. Some employers are looking to return before the end of 2021, or even within the next couple of months. Meanwhile, 38 percent of respondents plan to be remote for the foreseeable future. Having modified their business model to work remotely, they don’t see a current need to return to the office environment.
Remote work has not affected salaries
No company surveyed said they changed or plan on changing salary structures.
Although some companies haven’t seen the need to introduce new metrics, others are looking for creative ways to ensure productivity
One challenge employers faced when transitioning to a remote work model was how to ensure productivity and accountability. Gone were the quick check ins on the way to the water cooler or the face-to-face touch base meetings. Over 30 percent of respondents have implemented or are examining new procedures to make sure performance stays at optimal levels.
Some new procedures our respondents have undergone include: installing productivity monitoring software, implementing quotas, weekly reports and stronger KPIs tied to billable hours.
Some businesses have discovered they prefer working remotely
While more than half of our participants have already returned to the office, 21 percent made a discovery over the past year – they actually prefer the remote work model. Some business owners also plan to create both in-person and remote options. Ten percent of respondents plan to return back to the office once it’s safe to do so.
There are very torn responses on how, if at all, the remote model will affect revenue
When it comes to how a hybrid or completely remote model affects the bottom line, our survey respondents are divided on whether or not it will and, if so, in what way. A majority at 35 percent believe it won’t affect net income. The remaining respondents think it will affect the bottom line; however, they’re equally split on whether it will be positive or negative.
Positivity for Q3 and Q4 are on the upwards trend
With vaccine distribution increasing, Q3 and Q4 are beginning to look a bit brighter for business owners. Thirty four percent of survey participants have a very positive outlook for the tail end of 2021, while 38 percent show cautious optimism. Still, 21 percent remain neutral and several even have a somewhat or very negative outlook.
Do you need assistance as your business transitions to the new normal? Our team of experienced, on-demand outsourced CFOs can provide the information and support you need. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the request for information form here.
NOTE: Given the current evolving economic climate, CFOSP is publishing more frequent communications on this topic based on what our clients are experiencing and our firm’s expertise. Stay tuned for updates or click here for more content on this topic.