COVID-19 Impact: By the Numbers

What You’ll Learn

  • Pandemic-related research from organizations like McKinsey, Edelman, and Gallup
  • How COVID-19 is impacting the employee experience
  • Consumers are closely watching if brands “do the right thing”

Each one of us has felt the weight of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The pandemic has affected our personal lives, how we do our jobs, and even our view of the world. We all feel it every day.

But there’s also some comfort in knowing that everyone is struggling with the same challenges, setbacks, and emotions.

You’re not alone.

There’s plenty of research that proves it. Organizations like McKinsey, Edelman, and Gallup have been doing some insightful work to help put the crisis in context for the rest of us. We thought it would be useful to compile some of the best survey results we’ve seen in one place.

Our hope is you find this helpful as you navigate this crazy year. Don’t be surprised if you end up nodding in agreement as you read through some of these data points.

Business Impact

  • 71 percent of CFOs based in the U.S. say they are struggling to adjust to remote work, and 65 percent say maintaining employee morale has been a challenge. Source: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • One-third of CFOs say they expect it will take their companies more than six months to adjust to the new business environment. Source: PwC
  • 59 percent of CFOs worry about a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections affecting returns to work. Source: PwC
  • 71 percent of CFOs are very confident their company can provide a safe working environment and 80 percent say they can meet customers’ safety expectations. Source: PwC
  • A global survey found that trust in business has surged to 56 percent – a jump of six points in just a matter of months. Source: Edelman
  • 60 percent of U.S. respondents say CEOs should take the lead on the pandemic response as opposed to waiting for the government. But only 27 percent say CEOs are doing an outstanding job of meeting the demands placed on them by the pandemic. Source: Edelman

60 percent Edelman

Remote Work

  • The percentage of employed adults working from home jumped from 31 percent in mid-March to 62 percent by mid-April. Source: Gallup
  • More than half (53 percent) of at-home workers say they would prefer to continue working remotely as much as possible once restrictions on businesses and school closures end. Source: Gallup
  • Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of CFOs plan to move at least 5 percent of their previously on-site workforce to remote positions permanently, post-COVID 19. Source: Gartner
  • In a survey of 3,000 employees, 68 percent say they are very successful working from home. Source: Global Workplace Analytics

68 percent Global Workplace Analytics

  • 77 percent of employees want to continue working from home at least once a week, 16 percent don’t want to come back to the office at all, and only 6 percent say they don’t want to work from home in the future. Source: Global Workplace Analytics
  • 54 percent of CFOs no longer view remote work as a productivity drain and plan to make it a permanent option. Source: PwC
  • 80 percent of people say they enjoy working from home, 41 percent say they are more productive than they had been before, and 28 percent say they are just as productive. Source: McKinsey

Return to the Workplace

  • While nearly 80 percent of American employees are proud of their employers’ response to the outbreak and believe they are prioritizing safety, only 6 percent would trust their employers to determine when it’s safe to bring them back to work. Source: KRC Research
  • 78 percent of respondents in a 12,000-person survey believe businesses have a responsibility to ensure employees are protected from the virus in the workplace and do not spread it into the community Source: Edelman

78 percent Edelman

  • Office-space decision-makers expect the percentage of time worked in main and satellite offices to decline by 12 and 9 percent, Source: McKinsey
  • 70 percent of respondents say they perform equally well at home and the office but are more satisfied collaborating in person. Source: Global Workplace Analytics

Impact on People

  • 81 percent of full-time employees say COVID-19 has disrupted their life “a great deal” or “a fair amount.” Source: Gallup
  • In a survey of more than 1,100 U.S. adults, 17 percent say they have a family member or friend whose health has been impacted by COVID-19, and 51 percent are at an elevated risk of major complications because of their age or a pre-existing health condition. Source: FleishmanHillard
  • 16 percent of survey respondents predict it will take anywhere from five months to two years to return to “normal.” Source: FleishmanHillard

16 percent FleishmanHillard

  • More than seven in 10 Americans (72 percent) say their lives have been disrupted “a lot” or “some” by pandemic. Source: Kaiser Family Foundation
  • About one-third of Americans have reported recent symptoms such as anxiety and depression – a jump from 11 percent in a survey covering the same time span in 2019. Source: CDC
  • 85 percent of survey respondents say there are ethical concerns related to the future of work, including the maintenance of privacy, control of workers’ data, and the treatment of alternative workers. Source: Deloitte
  • The growing need for a human focus has catapulted “well-being” and “belonging” into the 1 and No. 2 trends this year for organizations. Source: Deloitte
  • 26 percent of survey respondents are not confident in HR’s ability to step up and lead effectively. Source: Deloitte

Communication and Engagement

    • A record 35 percent of employees say they are engaged in the workplace. Source: Gallup
    • 67 percent of survey respondents say they need more and better communication from their employer. Source: FleishmanHillard
    • 63 percent of employees say they would like their employer to share information about the coronavirus at least daily. Source: Edelman

63 percent Edelman

  • 89 percent of survey respondents say brands must keep the public fully informed regarding how they are supporting and protecting their employees and customers. Source: Edelman
  • 54 percent of communicators in a survey say their efforts during the pandemic are valued by leadership. Source: Ragan Communications
  • 67 percent of communicators say they are working with the CEO and other leaders on crisis messaging. Source: Ragan Communications
  • More than one-third (38 percent) of communicators say they did not have a crisis communication plan in place prior to the outbreak. Source: Ragan Communications

Consumers Are Watching

  • 80 percent of consumers would prefer to buy from companies who treated their employees well through the outbreak. Source: KRC Research
  • 65 percent of survey respondents say the pandemic has changed how they see companies as employers. Source: FleishmanHillard

65 percent FleishmanHillard

  • 60 percent of survey respondents describe employers taking better care of their employees as “very important” right now. Source: FleishmanHillard
  • 52 percent of survey respondents don’t want to hear about the crisis from a company they do business with unless it’s something they are doing to help them and others through this crisis. Source: FleishmanHillard
  • 33 percent of survey respondents say they have already convinced other people to stop using a brand that they felt was not acting appropriately in response to the pandemic. Source: Edelman

Social Justice and Inequality

  • In a survey of more than 2,000 Americans, 60 percent of respondents said brands must take a stand and speak out against racial injustice publicly. Source: Edelman
  • 60 percent of respondents said that they will buy or boycott a brand based on if and how it responds to the current protests. Source: Edelman
  • 60 percent say that brands need to use their marketing dollars to advocate for racial equality and to educate the public on the issue of injustice. Source: Edelman
  • Black Americans are almost twice as likely to live in places where the pandemic will cause outsized disruption. Source: McKinsey
  • Black Americans are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, in part because they are overrepresented on the front lines, comprising 20 percent of workers in low-wage, high-contact, essential jobs such as healthcare, retail, and government services – and are less likely to have access to testing. Source: McKinsey


Post Author

G.I. Sanders

G.I. Sanders is Senior Director, Creative Services at Dynamic Signal. He specializes in entrepreneurship, digital and social media, design, and marketing. G.I. is based in Dallas, TX with his wife and two sons. Passions include technology, startups, music, fitness and sports.

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