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94% Indian CEOs want employees to return to office only after COVID-19 vaccination: KPMG

Significantly, 45 per cent of global CEOs don't expect to return to normalcy in 2021, while only one-third (31 per cent) are anticipating a return to normal in 2021.

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | March 23, 2021 | Updated 19:48 IST
94% Indian CEOs want employees to return to office only after COVID-19 vaccination: KPMG
Though many factors can influence CEO predictions, the perceived pace of vaccination distribution is prominent.

About 94 per cent CEOs of major Indian companies plan to ask their employees to return to office only after getting vaccinated, while 76 per cent CEOs will wait for more than 50 per cent of population to be vaccinated before returning to the office, a survey by accounting firm KPMG has found.

KPMG's 2021 CEO Outlook Pulse Survey interviewed 500 CEOs of 'world's most influential companies' from 11 key markets, including US, UK, China, India. The survey was conducted between January 29-March 4, 2021 and covered 11 key industry sectors.

"Nine out of 10 leaders globally (90 per cent) intend to ask their employees to report when they have been vaccinated in order to protect the wider workforce. In India 94 per cent CEOs intend to do so," it said.

Significantly, 45 per cent of global CEOs don't expect to return to normalcy in 2021, while only one-third (31 per cent) are anticipating a return to normal in 2021.

Also read: Home secretary expresses concern over slow pace of vaccination; warns of further surge due to festivals

"CEOs of the world's most influential companies are planning what a return to 'normal' will look like, but their workforces' lack of access to a COVID-19 vaccine is forcing them to rethink their strategies," KPMG said.

Though many factors can influence CEO predictions, the perceived pace of vaccination distribution is prominent. About 55 per cent of global business leaders are concerned that not all of their employees will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, which could put their operations or certain markets at a competitive disadvantage.

While majority of CEOs globally (61 per cent) would wait for more than 50 per cent of population to be vaccinated before returning to the office, in India, the number stood at 76 per cent.

"Three-quarters (76 per cent) of CEOs globally see government encouragement for businesses to return to 'normal' as the prompt for businesses to ask staff to return to the workplace...When employees can safely return to workplaces, one-fifth of companies (21 per cent globally as compared to 18 per cent in India) are looking to institute additional precautionary measures by asking clients and other in-person visitors to inform them of their vaccination status," it said.

As per the survey, only 17 per cent of global executives are looking to downsize their office space as a result of the pandemic as opposed to 22 per cent in India. The number stood at 69 per cent globally and 48 per cent in India as per KPMG's survey in August last year, which shows that either office downsizings have taken place or strategies have changed as the pandemic has drawn on.

Also read: MHA issues fresh COVID-19 guidelines; tells states to step up vaccination, follow 'Test-Track-Treat' protocol

Similarly, only 30 per cent of global executives as compared to 32 per cent Indian executives are considering a hybrid model of working for their staff post-COVID, where most employees work remotely 2-3 days a week.

"As a result, only one-fifth (21 per cent) of businesses globally are looking to hire talent that works predominantly remotely. In India this number is at about 22 per cent. This is a significant shift from last year (73 per cent in 2020 globally as compared to 77 per cent in India)," KPMG said.

66 per cent CEOs in India felt that the pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of operations and creation of next-generation models. However, with remote working becoming the norm during lockdowns, cyber security has emerged as the top concern impacting the growth and operations of companies globally as well as in India.KPMG Global Chairman and CEO Bill Thomas said that before making any major decisions, CEOs want to be confident that their workforce is protected against the virus.

"The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is providing leaders with a dose of optimism as they prepare for a new reality. CEOs are scenario planning for certain key markets that may experience vaccine shortages that could impact their operations, supply chains and people, leading to uneven economic recovery," he added.

Also read: Coronavirus vaccination: People above 45 years can take COVID-19 vaccine from April 1

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