ThinkWhy Poll: Businesses Provide Insights on the Impact of COVID-19

April 15, 2020
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Author: Glenn Hunter

Since the second week of March, 18 percent of respondents reported their company had laid off or furloughed employees. Eleven percent expect their employer to continue laying off or furloughing workers between April 7 and the first week of May. And 23 percent expect their organizations to begin the process of layoffs or furloughs during the same time frame.

Those startling numbers were results captured from a poll of professionals who attended the Tuesday, April 7 ThinkWhy webinar titled “Economic Impact of COVID-19 – Navigation for Stability on Recovery.” More than half of the 200 respondents were from small businesses with up to 499 employees, while 93 represented organizations with 500 to more than 3,000 employees.

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Attendees shared their views on the economy.

In addition to organizations that have laid off or furloughed employees since March, 13 percent of those surveyed responded that their organizations offered workers more paid personal time off, and 10 percent have added more positions. Eight percent have offered more unpaid personal time off during the same period, and 8 percent increased the hours of their existing employees.

As a result of the pandemic, 73 percent of the respondents said their organizations have increased the frequency or the type of communication tools or technology used for their jobs. The poll results also revealed that:

  • 54% are now attending more meetings,
  • 53% are receiving more communications from their firms, and
  • 3% are working longer hours.

Cutbacks in Personal Spending Ahead

As individual consumers, a whopping 83 percent of the poll respondents said they planned to reduce their overall spending in the near-term. Sixty percent will purchase more goods online during that time, and 38 percent plan to donate time or money to a charitable cause. In addition, 13 percent said they will consider delaying paying a bill that’s not related to housing, and 12 percent said they’ll consider delaying a mortgage or rent payment. Fourteen percent said they will be looking for another job.

ThinkWhy also asked the poll respondents where they’re expending most of their “mental energy” outside of the work environment. The results showed:

  • 25% are spending the time checking on their family, friends or colleagues.
  • 20% are trying to figure out the effect of the pandemic on their family’s finances and investments, and 17% and 16%, respectively, are aiming to understand the duration, and magnitude, of the pandemic’s economic impact.
  • Another 13% said they’re attempting to keep their children’s schooling on track.

ThinkWhy It Matters

Based on the ThinkWhy poll, it’s clear that U.S. businesses have responded aggressively to COVID-19, moving to control their employee counts and payroll costs. As consumers, company representatives also are planning to curb their personal spending habits and even delay paying some bills. Both the workforce and personal spending cuts will have substantial effects on the U.S. economy.

ThinkWhy will continue to measure the impact as the pandemic unfolds.
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