Survey Indicates Increased Future Support Of Remote Work Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Real Estate In-Depth | April 2020

ARLINGTON, VA—A Gartner, Inc. survey of 317 CFOs and finance leaders on March 30, 2020 revealed that 74% intend to move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions post-COVID 19.

“This data is an example of the lasting impact the current coronavirus crisis will have on the way companies do business,” said Alexander Bant, practice vice president, research for the Gartner Finance Practice. “CFOs, already under pressure to tightly manage costs, clearly sense an opportunity to realize the cost benefits of a remote workforce. In fact, nearly a quarter of respondents said they will move at least 20% of their on-site employees to permanent remote positions.” Gartner Inc. is based in Stamford, CT.

With 81% of CFOs previously telling Gartner that they planned to exceed their contractual obligations to hourly workers, remote work is one example of creative cost savings senior finance leaders are seeking in order to avoid more severe cuts and minimize the downside impact to operations. CFOs previously reported to Gartner that they were taking additional steps to support employees in this area by adjusting to more flexible work schedules and providing company-issued work from home equipment. These actions by finance leaders help minimize disruptions workers might be facing as a result of the crisis.

“Most CFOs recognize that technology and society have evolved to make remote work more viable for a wider variety of positions than ever before,” Gartner’s Bant said. “Within the finance function itself, 90% of CFOs previously reported to us that they expect minimal disruptions to their accounting close process, with almost all activities able to be executed off-site.”

As organizations continue to grapple with the ongoing business disruptions from COVID-19, permanent remote work could complement cost-cutting measures that CFOs have already taken or plan to take. In Gartner’s most recent survey, 20% of respondents indicated they have deferred on-premise technology spending, with an additional 12% planning to do so. An additional 13% of respondents noted they had already made cost reductions in real estate expenses, with another 9% planning to take actions in this area in the coming months.

Gartner, Inc. is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. The firm is an advisor and resource for more than 15,000 enterprises in more than 100 countries—across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.