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New SHRM Research on How COVID-19 Is Changing the Workplace

An infographic about COVID's effects on the economy. 42% of employers say spending is down.

​The impact of the coronavirus on the working world was hard to imagine just two months ago. Since early March, a wide range of predominantly service-sector businesses have closed, most either furloughing or laying off their staffs. Companies that are still operating are relying on legions of employees to work remotely or are equipping their workers (many now considered "essential") with personal protective equipment, hand-washing stations and other tools to minimize risk so they can do their jobs onsite.

New research from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) sheds a light onto just how significantly employers and workers have been impacted by the coronavirus. For instance, 40 percent of employers have had to shut down certain aspects of their businesses, while 83 percent have adjusted their business practices, according to the survey of more than 2,200 human resource professionals. In addition, 71 percent of employers said they are struggling to adjust to remote work, while 65 percent said that maintaining employee morale has been a challenge.

Assessing by industry type, the survey found that the food and hospitality sectors have experienced the most significant setbacks. Eighty-two percent are shutting down certain aspects of their business, while 76 percent are laying off employees and one-third are cutting headcount with no intent to rehire.

"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." 

The full survey results are available here. (Full findings here.)

SHRM Resource Spotlight
Coronavirus and COVID-19


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