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Survey: How COVID-19 is Changing the Workplace


Following unprecedented reports of unemployment, new research released by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) sheds light on how the coronavirus is disrupting workplaces. The survey polled more than 2,200 human resource professionals to understand the top challenges employers are facing and examine the actions workplaces have taken to adapt to today’s evolving economic climate.

(Full findings here.)

The top challenges include:

  • Seventy-one percent of employers are struggling to adjust to remote work

  • Sixty-five percent of employers say maintaining employee morale has been a challenge

  • More than 1/3 of employers are facing difficulties with:

  • Company culture

  • Employee productivity

  • Leave regulations

Even as employers struggle with new challenges, many have had to close or change to stay solvent. The coronavirus has prompted 40 percent of employers to shut down certain aspects of the business, and 83 percent of employers to adjust business practices. Of those:

  • Half are no longer hiring;

  • Thirty-one percent have laid workers off, while 15 percent have permanently cut headcount with no intent to rehire;

  • Thirty-eight percent have decreased employee hours and 19 percent have reduced pay rates;

  • Fourteen percent have hired more employees, while ten percent are considering it;

  • Thirty-two percent are offering additional paid leave for employees, while another 18 percent are considering it.

"Business is not as usual," said SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP. "Markets are down, companies are closed, and millions are working from home. It’s a time of change, challenge, and uncertainty. But it’s also impermanent—it will pass. The economy will recover, business will bounce back and, soon enough, workers will return to work."

Taylor added: "While I believe in the resilience of the U.S. economy, it will not rebound on its own. This new data underscores the importance of the public and private sectors collaborating to repair our damaged economy. And it’s going to take business and HR leaders on the front lines of workplaces to be strong, innovative, and agile as we all fearlessly face this hardship together." FULL RELEASE