COVID-19 Impact: When Will Companies Reach Their Critical Point of Survival?

WorldatWork and Greenwich.HR Release Results of The Impact of COVID-19 on the Future of Work Survey

May 20, 2020

May 21, 2019 — Scottsdale, AZ — Nearly one-third of organizations are already feeling extreme pain due to the pandemic, another 20% will experience the same by July and 32% will reach that point in 2021. This is a key takeaway from The Impact of COVID-19 on the Future of Work survey conducted by WorldatWork and Greenwich.HR. The survey assessed 1) if organizations are estimating how long they can survive in their current state and, if so; 2) when their organization will reach a critical point of survival; 3) if investments in technology have been accelerated due to COVID-19 and what the key driver is to do so; and 4) if companies are adhering to local or centralized COVID-19 mandates; among other findings. (Journalists: contact for a copy of the results.)

Key findings:

  • 34% of businesses have established timelines of how long they can survive before making drastic cuts to their operations or closing the business altogether.
  • For organizations with an estimated timeline for survival, 28% have already reached that point; 19% expect they will experience the same by July and 32% will reach that point in 2021.
  • 37% of organizations reported that COVID-19 has accelerated their technology investment.
  • Service enhancement is by far the primary factor driving automation efforts at organizations, with 84% reporting it as extremely or very influential. Time (61%) and financial savings factors (58%) trail behind.
  • For organizations with multiple locations, the majority are adhering to local COVID-19 mandates (59%) versus a centralized policy (22%).

“The data here suggests the wide-ranging and compelling issues that will significantly impact organizations, employees and Total Rewards professionals,” says Scott Cawood, President and CEO, WorldatWork. “For example, organizations with multiple locations will need to wrestle with many challenges due to differences in relaxing restrictions across the country, and around the world, including the fact most schools will be opening at different times. Current policies for how to address disparities must be updated now to account for the many differences employees are facing, including some returning to offices while others are still working from home. We will all be addressing a multitude of changeable scenarios we’ve never before faced.”

"Many aspects of companies' cultures are being rapidly challenged and revised," says Cary Sparrow, CEO of Greenwich.HR. "Norms about remote work are changing, and we expect many companies to be permanently adopting much more flexible approaches to working from home. Companies are experiencing first-hand how this can open the doors to many positive benefits to both employees and employers. But these changing expectations can cut both ways. In the past, offering flexible work at home policies was often seen as a positive differentiator to a company's employment brand. Going forward, not having such policies will likely be a negative differentiator for many more types of jobs." 

About the Study

A random sample of WorldatWork members were invited to participate in the electronic survey, resulting in a final sample of 523 respondents. Survey respondents were WorldatWork members employed in the HR, compensation and benefits departments of U.S. organizations. Analysis of the end sample verified that study respondents are a representative mix of the WorldatWork member community.

About WorldatWork

WorldatWork, the Total Rewards Association, is the leading global nonprofit organization for professionals who are engaged in the critically important practice of Total Rewards. We serve those who are responsible for cultivating inspired, engaged, productive, and committed workers in effective and rewarding workplaces. We guide them in the design and delivery of Total Reward programs with our education and certification; idea exchange; thought leadership; knowledge creation; information sharing; research; advocacy; and networking. Founded in 1955, WorldatWork serves Total Rewards professionals throughout the world working in organizations of all sizes and every industry.

About Greenwich.HR

Greenwich.HR brings an entirely new lens to seeing the labor market, allowing innovations and efficiencies that have never been possible. Greenwich.HR provides the largest, fastest-growing, and most precise labor market data platform available. We track the hiring and pay behaviors of over 3 million organizations in real time. Learn more at Greenwich.HR.

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