Seven of 10 U.S. employers are struggling to adapt to remote work, just one of many coronavirus-driven workplace disruptions, according to a new survey.

Nearly as many employers—65%—say maintaining employee morale during the pandemic has been a challenge, according to the April 20 Society for Human Resource Management survey.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management.

SHRM surveyed 2,278 human resource professionals across 13 industries between April 1-7.

The majority of employers—71%—struggling to adapt to remote work includes 65% of manufacturers, the survey found.

It also showed that more than one-third of employers are having issues with company culture, employee productivity, and leave regulations.

Employee Morale

While 65% say maintaining employee morale is a challenge, it's a bigger issue in the accommodations/food service and healthcare industries, where 73% of employers are experiencing morale problems.

More than one-third of employers are facing challenges that include:

  • Maintaining company culture
  • Managing employees unable to telework
  • Shifting communications to meet remote needs
  • Spending more time meeting government leave requests

More than half of employers are no longer hiring, 31% have laid off workers, and 15% have made permanent cuts with no plans to rehire.

Hours, Wages

Forty-two percent of surveyed employers report reduced sales or revenues and 30% say meeting payroll is a challenge.

  • 38% have cut employee hours and 19% have reduced pay
  • 14% have hired more employees and 10% are considering hiring more
  • 32% are offering their workers additional paid leave while 18% are considering it

"Business is not as usual," said SHRM president and CEO Johnny Taylor Jr.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management.

"Markets are down, companies are closed, and millions are working from home."

Taylor said the survey data shows that businesses will not recover on their own, with public-private partnerships needed to reactivate the economy.

Other Findings

Other findings include:

  • 35% of employers are struggling with a drop in employee productivity
  • 83% have adjusted business practices, including 91% of manufacturers
  • 40% are not considering layoffs