6 Months Into Pandemic – Offices Sit Half Empty; 35% of Companies Unsure When They Will Reopen Their Workplace
Today, 9/22/2020, is the first day of Fall. Reflect back to mid-March of 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit with a major impact on the U.S., forcing lockdown orders and closed workplaces. Most of us didn’t predict then that we would still find ourselves in the midst of the pandemic – 6 months later. In Denver, businesses considered “non-essential” are still limited to up to 50% capacity in the workplace.
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, data from Brivo – a company that provides access-control systems for workplaces – shows that “unlocks” at offices (this is when someone uses their credentials to enter an office) in late August were down 51% nationwide from the end of February.
Many businesses hoped to reopen their workplaces after Labor Day, but a new survey, fielded during Aug. 19th – 26th by The Conference Board, suggests there is still a long and uncertain road ahead. The survey polled more than 1,100 managers and executives across 20 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas. The following summarizes the survey results of when they expect their workplaces to reopen:
- 35% – The timing of reopening is unknown
- 16% – In Q1 of 2021
- 14% – By the end of Sept 2020
- 8% – In Q4 2020
- 5% – After a vaccine is widely available
- 3% – In Q2 2021
- 3% – Workers will remain remote permanently
- 2% – After Q2 2021
The most frequent actions businesses are taking to safeguard their workers:
- 82% – Purchasing safety/protective equipment (masks, thermometers, sanitization devices…).
- 80% – Creating new workplace policies requiring social distancing.
- 78% – Preparing workspace for return of workers by deep cleaning or disinfecting.
The least frequent actions businesses are taking:
- 19% – Providing childcare options for workers
- 13% – Implementing safety measures and/or policies specifically for workers taking public transportation
The survey also found that only about 60% of companies chose to survey workers about their levels of readiness and comfort in returning. The companies that did survey their workers were found to be more likely to put all safeguard measures in place, and to be more receptive and accommodating to their employees’ top concerns.
What will mid-March, 2021 look like – 6 more months from now?
- September 18, 2020, ASA Staffing Today. Wall Street Journal (09/17/20) Riley, Katherine, “America’s Offices Sit Half-Empty Six Months Into the Covid-19 Pandemic”.
- September 4, 2020, ASA Staffing Today. The Conference Board News Release (09/03/20)
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