Editor's Note: The Pandemic as a Catalyst for Change
The results of our 35th annual Corporate Survey and 17th annual Consultants Survey reflect changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, including a temporary and/or permanent transition to remote work and an increase in the importance of quality of life.
Nevertheless, the results of our 35th annual Corporate Survey reveal that our readers are proceeding with caution when it comes to plans for new and expanded facilities. Only 30 percent of the respondents (many of whom are with mid-size or small firms in terms of number of employees) have plans for new as well as expanded domestic facilities over the next two years, as two thirds transitioned to employees working remotely temporarily or permanently during the pandemic. The fact that many workers have been quarantining at home has also resulted in a very high ranking of the quality-of-life factor from the Corporate Survey respondents.
And, as in years past, we also surveyed consultants to industry, most of whom work with large or very large firms in terms of employment numbers. The respondents to our 17th annual Consultants Survey are much more bullish about the economy, with nearly all saying their clients have new or expanded facility plans.
Also reflected in the results of our surveys is the heightened focus on workforce diversity and inclusion plans as well as environmental sustainability. These are other issues that have been brought to the forefront by the global pandemic and social unrest that followed. Corporate leaders have become more cognizant of their societal responsibilities and realize that, by making society’s goals their corporate goals, they will gain competitive advantage in the global economy.
Some pundits are venturing to compare the post-pandemic period ahead with the roaring 1920s, as the country recovered from another pandemic. Whatever the years ahead hold from an economic perspective remains to be seen, but the two post-pandemic periods can be compared as catalysts for change.
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