64% Say the Coronavirus Outbreak has Affected Their Company’s Productivity (i4cp login required)


Companies have reported an increased impact on productivity
related to the coronavirus since mid-February, according to a new survey of 650
HR decision makers conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).

This week’s survey found 29% of participants reporting that
the coronavirus outbreak has negatively affected productivity in their
organizations from a moderate to high extent; and 35% reporting that the
coronavirus outbreak has affected productivity in their organizations to a
small extent.

Three weeks ago, a combined 70% of those surveyed reported
that the coronavirus outbreak had had a small or no impact at all on
productivity in their organizations.

Travel restrictions

Among the survey respondents (most of whom represent
organizations with global or multinational operations and workforces of 1,000+
people), over a third (36%) reported that they are currently allowing employees
to exercise their own judgment in making business travel decisions.

But modifications to business travel policies are on an
uptick in response to the growing number of confirmed cases of COVID-19
(coronavirus) across the U.S.


  • 28% reported that only essential business travel
    outside the U.S. is currently permitted.
  • 24% reported that only essential business travel
    inside the U.S. is permitted
  • Seven percent of organizations have suspended all
    business travel, both within and outside the U.S. (not including routine daily
  • 17% said that they have not addressed business
    travel policies in response to the coronavirus outbreak in any way

In terms of the duration of travel restrictions, the
majority of survey respondents said their companies have not set an end date—a
combined 66% said a determination has not yet been made or that no end dates
have been set.

Beyond the travel issue, and despite notable headlines, well
over half of survey respondents (57%) said that their companies have not
cancelled events or other activities due to the coronavirus.

Organizations are making travel and other policy decisions
based on advisories from health organizations such as the CDC,
the WHO,
or the National
Institute of Health
(86%). Other information sources relied upon include:

  • The advisories from the federal government (62%)
  • State and local advisories (55%)
  • Recommendations of internal crisis management
    team (45%)

Beyond travel modifications, response strategies that companies
are looking at include:

  • Implementing a “split operations strategy” in
    which employees are divided into teams or groups and physically separated from
    one another for weeks or more at a time in order to prevent potential intraorganizational
  • Providing geo-specific information links and
    channels to supply real-time information to employees based on regions.
  • Revisiting supply chain designs.

While we typically only make the full results of our
research available to i4cp member organizations, due to the nature of the
outbreak and its implications for individual health, the full benchmarking
report is available for download here

We are actively working with our members to encourage
idea sharing among HR leaders; we’ve hosted two virtual meetings to date and
plan to announce further opportunities to connect soon.

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