March 24, 2020
Cincinnati Businesses Implementing New Strategies in Response to COVID-19
An independent survey conducted by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber shows that while local businesses are implementing new strategies to respond to COVID-19, their needs vary from implementation of remote work technologies, navigation of employee benefits and access to capital. The survey was released on March 13 and had 137 responses.
Key survey findings include:
- More than 60 percent of respondents are encouraging employees to work remotely. Over 20 percent of respondents say remote work is now mandatory.
- Just under 20 percent of respondents are in an industry that require workers to be physically present to perform their duties.
- About one in three respondents, roughly 35 percent, say their companies do not have the resources for staff to work remotely, citing lack of technology as a main reason.
- Employers that require employees to be on-site are limiting and restructuring shifts to encourage social distancing.
- Over one third of respondents, about 38 percent, work for companies that are providing additional paid leave for sick time. A quarter of respondents say their companies are providing additional paid time off to support childcare and eldercare responsibilities.
- Half of the respondents say companies have implemented travel restrictions. Anecdotal responses indicate some companies do not require travel and thus did not need to enact restrictions.
Other ways in which companies are responding vary. Respondents say some businesses are waving insurance co-pays for telehealth services and prescriptions, offering unlimited paid leave to encourage employees who present symptoms to stay home, allowing staff in good standing to purchase additional paid time off, suspending absence penalties for employees who have family care responsibilities and providing wages while employees wait to qualify for short-term disability.
Needs also vary. Respondents said their businesses need access to capital and relief from different levels of government. Businesses are also looking for cleaning and sanitization supplies to keep their facilities safe, as well as technology infrastructure to allow for remote work.
The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber will continue to independently survey local businesses here. These surveys are part of a new suite of initiatives to help businesses respond to COVID-19. In addition to surveys, the Chamber is also sending daily email updates with relevant health and governmental information.