Last week, we surveyed 600 senior executives and asked a few questions regarding their anticipated timeline for easing COVID-19 restrictions, contingency plans, and work from home scenarios. The results from respondents?
- 55% think we are in this “new normal” at least through Memorial Day
- 60% are making contingency plans for a second round of the virus this fall; another 25% “can’t even begin to think about it.” As one CHRO told us, “We are making contingency plans for everything – that’s what is so hard.”
- The most interesting reveal from our survey? 81% of respondents said they are “absolutely” or “possibly” considering a long-term shift to allow employees to work from home.
While the stay-in-place mandate was put in place for health reasons, the impact of this home quarantine period will have long lasting impact on working from home and business travel. Talking to various road-warrior clients, the takeaway is consistent…there is no need to travel as much. Conversations with some of our private equity partners highlighted the change. “I never knew how productive a Zoom meeting could be. I’ll miss the Marriott points, but it’s nice to sleep in my own bed.”
While social integration is a crucial part of K-12 education, working from home with phone and video have been proven convenient and productive. Now that we have experienced working from home at this scale, it will be impossible to go back to old ways. The winners?
- Professional Women – Many women, especially working mothers, have had roadblocks to advancement because they were unable to take road warrior positions at critical junctures in their careers. They could do the job, but traveling 40-60% was often a non-starter when young kids were at home. If heavy travel is not required, especially in senior sales management roles that often lead to the C-suite, the playing field is leveled for qualified women.
- Board Directors – We have an active board practice at LPA Search Partners and geography plays a big part in board selection. It is difficult for a potential board director based in California to consider an east coast board when regulations mandate in-person quarterly full-board meetings plus other sub-committee meetings throughout the year. This global crisis has already eased restrictions and created something more efficient. As Bill Gates commented on a recent LinkedIn interview, “I doubt there will be as many face-to-face board meetings.”
- Our Environment – The silver lining of the coronavirus lockdown may be the positive impact on our environment. Restrictions on travel and stay-at-home orders have drastically cut down on fossil fuel emissions. The Guardian just reported that “emissions may fall by about 5%” in 2020, “the biggest drop in CO2 emissions on record.” Mother Nature is signaling her approval with smog free skies and cleaner water. Travel less, breathe better. We all win.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Be productive. Be kind.