Four out of five CEOs expect remote working to continue on the long term

Four out of five CEOs expect remote working to become more widespread in their businesses, after finding that their prior concerns about productivity losses în lockdown were unfounded, according to PwC’s CEO Panel Survey, conducted in June and July 2020.

A prior survey of PwC, CFO Pulse, from April showed that nearly half of the surveyed financial executives expected productivity loss because of a lack of remote work capabilities.

Two months later, when asked again, just 26% of CFOs anticipated productivity loss in the month ahead.

Two key themes emerged among our respondents, when asked about their priorities. The first one is the plan to make their companies more digital, by digitising core business operations and processes, and adding digital products and services.

The second theme is that the CEOs plan to develop a more flexible and involved workforce by increasing the share of remote or contingent workers, and expand employee health, safety and wellness programmes.

In this context, respondents believe shifts towards automation (76% of CEOs), low-density workplaces (61%), supply chain safety (58%), gig economy (54%) and public safety (50%) will have a lasting impact.

More pessimism about global economy perspectives

CEOs are significantly more pessimistic about the direction of the global economy over the next 12 months now than they were at the end of 2019, with just 30% saying economic growth will improve in the year ahead.

And with good reason: The World Bank forecasts that the global economy will shrink by 5.2% in 2020, representing the deepest recession since the Second World War.

As a result, CEOs also face uncertainty about their own operations, with only 15% indicating that they are very confident in their organisation’s revenue prospects.

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