- A second wave of coronavirus infections topped the list of emerging risks executives watched during Q2 2020, according to Gartner's 2Q20 Emerging Risks Monitor Report. The firm surveyed 131 senior executives across industry sectors.
- Though the second wave was explicitly outlined as the top concern, the financial implications of the pandemic are peppered throughout the top five risks execs are monitoring closely. In particular, the new working model and strategic responses to the crisis worried managers.
- Decision-makers grappled with reopening strategies, a task made harder by having to navigate outbreaks in different stages across geographies, said Matt Shinkman, VP at the Gartner Risk and Audit Practice in a press release. "It's now becoming clear that a 're-exit plan' will also be a required part of any such strategy."
People leading companies through the COVID-19 crisis are getting a once-in-a-generation lesson in managing uncertainty.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff offered a reminder of how unprepared humanity entered this crisis, in an interview with Fortune in May. "This is my first pandemic ... so I don't know if I have the right answers," Benioff said, when asked about how the company had fared amid the pandemic.
Across the C-suite, initiatives and plans are geared at business continuity. As part of that effort, leaders are minding what actions are needed to enable a hybrid model of work in the mid- to long-term. Working remotely is here to stay, at least for part of the workforce, or for some of the work week.
Top emerging risks for 2020
|Rank||Top risks in Q1 2020||Top risks in Q2 2020|
|1||Strategic assumptions||The second wave|
|2||Cyber-physical convergence||The new working model|
|3||2020 U.S. presidential election||Strategic corrections|
|4||Data localization||2020 U.S. presidential election|
|5||Macroeconomic stagnation||U.S./China trade talks|
SOURCE: Gartner Emerging Risks Monitor Report.
Even amid economic uncertainty, budgets devoted for remote work tech are set to rise. More than half, 57%, of executives plan to invest in additional remote communications and meeting technology no matter what the future of the office looks like, according to a survey of IT, security and engineering executives from Pulse.
A 6%-10% rise in remote work tech spend is expected at 45% of companies over the coming 12 months, a sign that software priorities in the enterprise are geared at sustaining operations in new context.
Coronavirus worries will impact tech hiring, too. As execs look to meet their staffing needs, 29% of leaders say the pandemic has made them more open to adding foreign or remote-based employees to their ranks than before the pandemic hit, according to Pulse data.