2022 before we return to normal

Nearly half (45%) of Global CEOs don’t expect to see a return to ‘normal’ until 2022, according to KPMG’s 2021 CEO Outlook Pulse Survey.

The study conducted by KPMG in February and March of this year asked 500 global CEOs about their response to the pandemic and the outlook over a three-year horizon. A majority (55%) of CEOs are concerned about employees’ access to a COVID-19 vaccine, which is influencing their outlook of when employees will return to the workplace. A significant majority (90%) of CEOs are considering asking employees to report when they have been vaccinated, which will help organizations consider measures to protect their workforce. However, a third (34%) of global executives are worried about the misinformation about COVID-19 vaccine safety and the potential this may have on employees choosing not to have it administered.  

The research finds that only 17% of global executives are looking to downsize their office space as a result of the pandemic. In contrast, 69% of CEOs surveyed in August 2020 said they planned to reduce their office space over three years, which demonstrates that either office downsizings have taken place or, as the pandemic has drawn on, strategies have changed. CEOs said they are also assessing options to allow employees to work more flexibly, with fourteen percent planning to look at shared office spaces.

CEOs are considering what the ‘new reality’ will look like, but post-COVID, only a fifth (21%) of businesses are looking to hire talent that works predominantly remotely, which is a significant shift from last year (73% in 2020).