By Anoop Khanna
A new survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has revealed that almost nine out of 10 CEOs in the UK expect a permanent shift to more remote working following the COVID-19 crisis.
The findings also show that the pandemic is driving a significant change in business models, with over three-quarters of CEOs believing that the crisis has accelerated a shift towards automation.
PwC chairman Kevin Ellis said, “While a large majority of CEOs believe COVID-19 has accelerated a long-term shift to more remote working, a blend of office and home working is most likely to be the future norm.”
“Automation will continue, but the pandemic has highlighted the inherently human skills that artificial intelligence cannot mimic, such as resilience, adaptability, empathy, creativity and critical thinking,” said Mr Ellis.
The survey said the virus has given businesses “a licence to change” after also finding that a quarter are now prioritising digital adoption, and that 15% are focusing on offering virtual products and services.
The survey findings also show that 15% of UK CEOs are increasing their share of remote or contingent workers but 13% plan to decrease their employee headcount.
Nine in 10 said that they are prioritising their staff’s health and safety in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a similar proportion conducting well-being initiatives.
Almost half have contributed resources – financial, volunteers or essential goods – to response efforts, and more than half said coronavirus has accelerated efforts to tackle climate change.
Around two-thirds of CEOs expect the economy to decline over the next 12 months, but almost the same numbers are confident about their company’s growth prospects.
PwC UK head of clients and markets Marco Amitrano said, “The crisis has given CEOs the mandate to rethink and reinvent how they work.”
He said, “The dramatic acceleration of trends around digital transformation and remote and flexible working means CEOs can now embed changes that otherwise may have taken a decade or more to happen.”
Asia Insurance Review