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Remote Work, New Work Shifts, More Layoffs: CFO Expectations (1)

April 27, 2020, 5:01 PMUpdated: April 27, 2020, 6:12 PM

U.S. companies’ financial leaders say remote working could become a permanent fixture of their workplaces.

Roughly half of 305 chief financial officers who took part in a PwC LLP survey said that working from home will continue to be an option for staff after Covid-19 restrictions give way to a new-normal state. A similar number said they are considering changing shifts or alternating crews to protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus.

“This topic is on everyone’s minds right now,” said Tim Ryan, PwC chairman, on Monday. “The debate is not not simply getting back to the way it was done, but also what does it look like going forward.”

  • Sixty-five percent said that they will reconfigure work spaces to put more distance between workers. Roughly a quarter said they would reduce their real estate needs.
  • “Where firms can, they are saying ‘Let’s make remote work work as long as we can.’ Where people have to be on site they are looking at primarily dealing with physical safety,” said Bhushan Sethi, PwC’s global people and organization co-leader.
  • A growing number of CFOs—48%, up from 39% two weeks ago—said it would take three months or longer to return to normal operating conditions. About half of the financial executives said they expect a 10% or greater drop in revenue for the year.
  • In the meantime, they remain focused on preserving cash to endure the economic downturn caused by the global pandemic. Many are rethinking their financing strategies and roughly a third expect layoffs in the next month.
(Updates with additional reporting throughout.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Iacone in Washington at aiacone@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com; Kathy Larsen at klarsen@bloombergtax.com