Survey reveals employee fear among biggest return-to-work obstacles
Employee workplace comfort remains one of the biggest issues businesses are facing according to a survey examining the economic impacts of COVID-19. The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber completed its fifth membership survey and collected 220 responses during 24 hours between June 2 and June 3.
“It is vital to our response that we have an understanding of the changing impacts to the business community,” said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. “The results and individual comments inform our work and how we proceed in supporting our members and the economic growth of the community.”
As businesses transition back into the workplace from remote work, the barriers reported as the primary concerns have changed in recent weeks. Employee fear has become the top obstacle businesses are facing, with more than 49% of respondents marking it as their top concern, which is 6% higher than the last survey. Concerns of child care (39%) and legal liability (38%) are the other top return-to-work barriers. As high as 64% of past survey respondants
“We are seeing from many of our members that creating a culture of transparency and committing to a clear internal communication strategy is vital to alleviating employee concerns,” Williams said. “The road for this return is one we are all traveling for the first time. We are hoping to continue providing information and forums for discussion that helps companies forge this path.”Other results from the survey revealed the percentage of businesses that have lost revenue due to the crisis has remained consistent at 80% of participants, a figure seen through each of the previous surveys. However, the amount of monthly revenue decline has shrunk to an average of 41% from its 46% high-point in April.
Employee layoffs have not been as many as once feared with 52% of businesses reporting no layoffs compared to 63% who indicated in March they expected to reduce their workforce.
The survey also showed remote work may be a lasting trend for Oklahoma City companies. Of companies surveyed, 63% of respondents indicated they have continued the practice in some form, including remote work for individuals with health concerns, alternating remote work and time in the office, leaving their entire workforce remote for now and considering leaving a portion of their workforce remote permanently.
The survey also measured employers’ practices concerning opening their buildings to clients and customers, with 62% of respondents limiting access. The businesses’ timelines for hosting clients and customers is different, with 44% of companies hosting people now and 39% of respondents holding in-person meetings. Travel and events are more limited, with 21% of companies attending events, 21% of businesses allowing employees to conduct domestic travel and only 5% of respondents allowing international travel. Many businesses are waiting to engage in these activities, reporting that their timeline for attending events or allowing for travel spans until after September.
The Chamber continues to collecting and develop resources for businesses as they manage the COVID-19 crisis okcchamber.com/covid19