Post-COVID-19 Corporate Environment Will Have Lasting Impact on Operating Conditions and Reshaping Workplace Practices

Two-thirds (65%) of corporations feel the outcome of the US presidential election in November could bring changes to their operating conditions.

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S&P Global Market Intelligence’s quarterly COVID-19 flash survey found that a post-pandemic corporate environment will include key changes made to global corporations’ operational conditions and the reprioritization of environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) topics and workplace flexibility.

Conducted by 451 Research, the emerging technology research unit of S&P Global Market Intelligence, two-thirds (65%) of corporations feel the outcome of the US presidential election in November could bring changes to their operating conditions. The survey also found corporations are placing more priority on environmental sustainability and social responsibility and three-quarters (77%) of those surveyed will be extending new workplace flexibility considerations to their employees.

“Organizations are continually adapting to a new post-pandemic normal that includes high-impact government events such as the US presidential elections,” said Liam Eagle, Head of Voice of the Enterprise Research at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Our flash survey capabilities and access to corporate leaders gives us timely data and insights into executive sentiment that can help organizations and market participants make informed business decisions during these uncertain times.”

Among the findings on impact to operating conditions, the survey also sheds light on COVID-19 and the US presidential election’s impact to the future of work. It surfaces some of the enterprise-wide changes that companies have and/or are looking to implement with topics including operational impacts & organization changes, workplace & workforce practices, and corporate priorities & spending.

The survey features responses collected between September 24 to October 9 from approximately 400 corporate decision-makers across a range of industries.

Additional highlights from the survey include:

Operational impacts and organization changes:

  • Compliance and regulatory requirements (34%), capital markets (33%) and management of policy and requirements related to COVID-19 (32%) are changes corporations are expecting to see resulting from the US presidential election.
  • The expected timeline is shifting for a return to normal as 44% of enterprises (compared to 18% in June) are expecting the altered working conditions to last until 2021.
  • Dealing with a pandemic has led to positive organizational change for many as more than three-quarters of enterprises (80%) agree the demands of dealing with COVID-19 provide an opportunity to make procedural or operational changes that will benefit the business in the long run.

Workplace and workforce priorities

  • Nearly two-thirds of organizations (64%) say a significant increase in remote working is a permanent change they have made due to COVID-19. One-third (33%) point to a corresponding permanent reduction in office footprint while two-thirds of organizations (69%) indicate that at least 75% of their workforce can work effectively remotely.
  • As students return to school (virtually or in person), two-thirds of organizations (69%) expect some portion of their workforce to require additional considerations. Three-quarters (77%) are or will be extending new considerations to staff, most commonly additional flexibility in working hours and locations (66%) and additional support for managers dealing with the need for flexibility (30%).

Corporate priorities and spending

  • ESG-related topics such as environmental sustainability and social responsibility were cited as potential greater priorities by digital leaders (organizations actively executing on digital transformation strategies) compared to laggards (17% to 6% and 30% to 13%, respectively).
  • More than half of enterprises (60%) agree that inefficiencies exposed by COVID-19 will drive technology investments at their organizations well into the future.