Impact on business
Regardless of industry, the majority of respondents cited an adverse impact on their businesses by the coronavirus pandemic. More than three-quarters of respondents (78%) acknowledged that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their business to some degree, with 77% of South Florida respondents reporting a negative impact. Only 12% of respondents saw any kind of positive impact.
Impact of COVID-19 on business
Significantly positive impact: 4%
Slightly positive impact: 8%
Little to no impact: 10%
Slightly negative impact: 41%
Significantly negative impact: 37%
44% of survey respondents were B2B professionals, while 21% were part of the B2C commerce space. The remaining 21% belonged to organizations that could be classified as both B2B and B2C. Participants were employed by organizations ranging from sole proprietorships to companies employing more than 1,000. The largest employee groups were 1–9 employees, 100–499 employees and more than 1,000 employees.
Number of employees
Sole proprietor: 6%
1–9 employees: 19%
10–19 employees: 10%
20–49 employees: 15%
50–99 employees: 11%
100–499 employees: 18%
500–999 employees: 5%
1,000 or more employees: 16%
In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, many companies have transitioned to working from home, away from a central office where infections could easily be transmitted among employees. 69% of those surveyed currently operate as fully remote teams. South Florida executives said 73% of their teams operate as fully remote teams. Among all surveyed who are not working from home each day, about half of their employees split their time between home and business, while the other half go to the office daily.
Company employees working from home all the time and work situation
Employees working from home:
Work situation (base equals those not working from home every day):
Going to business every day: 50%
Splitting time between home and business: 50%
The executives are uncertain around the idea of keeping remote work as an option after the pandemic ends. Only 34% of respondents said their company would continue remote working after COVID-19 passes, while 32% said their organization would no longer work remotely. The remaining 34% of respondents were unsure. South Florida respondents were near the overall averages.
Company will continue remote working when pandemic has passed
Don’t know: 34%
Public interaction and reopening concerns
Depending on the nature of a business, interaction with customers and clients is sometimes impossible to avoid. Nearly half (49%) of survey respondents said their business requires them to interact daily with the public.
Business requires daily interaction with the public
63% of those respondents whose businesses require daily public interactions for work indicated that they would need a continuation of social distancing in order to feel safe enough to reopen. Others (56%) pointed to access to personal protective equipment (PPE) at work as a requirement of reopening. South Florida executives answered near the overall results, with the exception of access to PPE, 74%, and widespread continuation of social distancing, 51%.
What will be necessary to feel comfortable reopening
Continuation of social distancing: 63%
Access to PPE: 56%
Widespread testing: 53%
When cases start to significantly decline: 52%
Vaccine availability: 38%
When stay-at-home order is lifted: 37%
Widespread contract tracing: 36%
Most respondents listed the management of employee health and safety—and the responsibility for customer/client health and safety—as the top concerns when it comes to reopening their businesses. Responses from South Florida executives were near the overall averages, except for responding as a higher percentage, 84%, when it came to being very or extremely concerned about managing employee health and safety, with a higher proportion of respondents, 73%, concerned about managing customer/client health and safety, and a higher percentage, 60%, of respondents concerned about having sufficient sanitizer/disinfectant supplies. South Florida executive responses revealed higher concerns, 66%, on having customers come back as well.
Concerns for reopening
Managing employee health/safety: 10% not at all concerned, 20% percent somewhat concerned, 70% percent very/extremely concerned
Managing customer/client health/safety: 15% not at all concerned, 25% somewhat concerned, 60% very/extremely concerned
Having sufficient sanitizer/disinfectant supplies: 19% not at all concerned, 31% somewhat concerned, 50% very/extremely concerned
Having customers/clients come back: 21% not at all concerned, 29% somewhat concerned, 50% very/extremely concerned
Increased potential liability: 19% percent not at all concerned, 36% somewhat concerned, 45% very/extremely concerned
Having to comply with new regulations: 19% not at all concerned, 36% somewhat concerned, 45% very/extremely concerned
Finding/retaining employees: 43% not at all concerned, 32% somewhat concerned, 25% very/extremely concerned
“The good news is that we’ve been synthesizing a lot of information to come up with simpler, more digestible rules, approaches and strategies that we can use to take the important steps to help people get back to their workplaces,” said Dr. William Shrank, chief medical officer for Humana.
Nearly 7 in 10 respondents expressed concern about an employee contracting COVID-19 after a reopening. In South Florida, 81% of respondents said they were very or somewhat concerned, one of the higher percentages overall.
Level of concern for employees catching COVID-19 after reopening
Very concerned: 29%
Somewhat concerned: 40%
Not very concerned: 22%
Not at all concerned: 9%
As knowledge of the virus evolves and guidelines change, employers are dealing with mixed messages in choosing how to return to a safe workplace. Executives most frequently (86%) said they will implement increased cleaning and disinfecting procedures. Other top plans for the workplace were “providing PPE for employees” (71%) and “physical distancing of furniture” (67%). South Florida executives’ responses were close to the overall averages.
Business modifications prior to reopening
Increase cleaning/disinfecting: 86%
Provide PPE for employees: 71%
Physical distancing of furniture: 67%
Split staff: 51%
Other structural changes like barriers or guards: 33%
None of the above: 9%
The majority of those surveyed said they trust the COVID-19 guidelines coming from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and plan to provide training to employees around those recommendations.
Business will provide training on CDC guidelines
Don't know: 31%
Despite making plans for reopening, most respondents are not eager to jump back into in-person customer or client meetings right away. More than a quarter of those surveyed said they plan to wait at least 2 to 3 months before resuming in-person meetings. The responses of those surveyed in South Florida were lower when it came to not expecting to resume meetings within a month, 17%, and greater than the overall average in terms of expecting to meet with 2 or 3 months, 34%.
Customer/client meetings in person
Within the next month: 24%
Within the next 2 to 3 months: 26%
Within the next 4 to 6 months: 19%
More than 6 months from now: 16%
I'm already having meetings: 15%
When asked to indicate how soon they might be comfortable allowing employees to travel again by air, respondents were split: 23% said next month, while 21% said they were looking at the next 2 to 3 months, and another 21% don’t know. South Florida executives were lower than the overall average in terms of not expecting to allow business air travel next month (8%) and higher in not expecting it to resume until after a year, 12%. As well, a higher percentage of South Florida respondents answered “don’t know,” 31%, when compared to the overall average.
When comfortable allowing employees to travel by air
Next month: 23%
Next 2 to 3 months: 21%
Next 4 to 5 months: 13%
Next 6 to 11 months: 16%
One year or longer: 6%
Don’t know: 21%
Similarly, respondents had mixed feelings about resuming their commutes on public transportation. About a third (36%) of respondents said they’ll likely feel comfortable on public transit within the next 3 months, but many others said they want to wait longer—or they just don’t know yet.
This research indicates that the return-to-work landscape is still shifting. The bottom line for executives and managers is that businesses should be ready to adapt to new approaches as COVID-19 conditions continue to change.