- Though stay-at-home orders largely remain in place, companies are planning transitions back to the workplace. More than three-quarters of organizations plan to change workplace safety measures and requirements and 65% plan to rework sites to enable physical distancing, according to a PwC survey of 305 U.S. CFOs and finance executives, conducted April 20-22. Only one in five executives are evaluating tools for workforce location tracking and contact tracing.
- For some, a return to the office is not mandatory. Half of companies plan to make remote work a permanent option for the jobs that allow it, according to the study. The shift pushes companies to manage a blended on-site and remote workforce in the next 12-18 months. One-quarter of companies are considering real estate footprint reductions and 40% want to accelerate automation and new ways of working.
- Cost containment remains a primary focus across all industries as 86% of companies are implementing cost-containment measures, PwC found.
Reality has set in and companies are considering the long-term impacts of the coronavirus and the time it will take for business to recover. Half of companies expect it will take at least three months to return to "business as usual," up from 39% of respondents in PwC's April 8 Pulse Survey.
If there's one key takeaway from the crisis, it's the acceleration of digital technology adoption. Companies are balancing a lot of different necessities, but the workforce piece is the "hardest to do," said Amity Millhiser, vice chair and chief clients officer at PwC U.S.
Companies are scrutinizing IT and digital spend — whatever is mission critical will see continued to investment, she told CIO Dive. Some of that focus remains on enhancing digital customer interactions and workforce enablement.
The pandemic has tested technology adoption, pressuring digital strategies CIOs and other IT executives have spent years formulating.
In some ways, this is "relative good news," Millhiser said. Companies are growing into their IT strategies right this very minute.
PwC is in the middle of a multiyear digital transformation strategy, which targets front, middle and back office operations. The COVID-19 crisis is giving the company an opportunity to better understand what's working and what's not.
As PwC tests remote working and remote customer interactions, "it will reinforce itself in the positive," Millhiser said. "People are realizing, I got this and my team can work remotely."