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Most Organizations Targeting 2021 for a Return to Normal Operations

When the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold in the United States in March, most organizations expected the effects on the business would be short-lived.


However, as cases accelerated and local and state shutdowns were imposed, the timeline for recovery and a return to normal was expanded. WorldatWork’s “Back to Work Playbook Study” in May found that 67% of the 601 organizations surveyed either planned to resume or had already resumed “normal” operations by the end of August. That same survey found that 13% of companies were deferring normal operations until 2021.

To provide an update on the current thinking, WorldatWork revisited this question with a pulse survey during the week of Sept. 7-11. The survey of 274 employers found that 32% do not expect to return to normal operations until after March 2021, while 27% said that would occur in January.

“These results emphasize how work will never be the same again and how “normal” is continuing to evolve,” said Deirdre Macbeth, content director, regulatory at WorldatWork. “There is an impressive number of organizations who have already transformed their practices to adjust to the new work environment and support a distributed workforce.”   

The survey did reveal that 12% of organizations are already operating normally and haven’t been impacted by COVID-19 while 11% said they will never return to normal operations and their operating model has permanently changed due to COVID-19. Additionally, 8% of employers expect to return to normal before the end of 2021 and 10% said they expect that to occur in either February or March.

About the Author

Brett Christie Bio Image

Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.

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WorldatWork is a professional nonprofit association that sets the agenda and standard of excellence in the field of Total Rewards. Our membership, signature certifications, data, content, and conferences are designed to advance our members’ leadership, and to help them influence great outcomes for their own organizations.

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