Teleworking will not go away when the COVID-19 pandemic winds down, according to a new survey of human resources executives conducted by The Conference Board.
The survey, which polled more than 150 HR executives at larger U.S. companies, found 77% of respondents stating the shift to having employees working from home will continue, even one year after COVID-19 substantially subsides, with workers contributing from home for at least three days a week.
The survey also found that 37% of the respondents’ companies that had more remote workers before COVID-19 found increased employee productivity during the crisis. However, not everyone is expected to keep their jobs: 16% of respondents were expecting a wave of permanent layoffs through July and 9% predicted major restructuring in their firms.
“A shift toward more remote working will have major implications for HR departments,” said Robin Erickson, principal researcher at The Conference Board. “Among other changes, they will be able to recruit workers from a broader geographic pool and will need to hire and promote those who can inspire remote teams.”
As for the companies that plan to reopen the workplace, the top priorities for HR include ensuring office preparation and return to work (89%), addressing health and safety concerns for those returning to the office (86%), offering employee mental health/well-being support (75%) and determining worker sentiment to return to work (75%).