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74% of CFOs want staff to work from home permanently - Gartner

06 Apr 2020

Gartner has released a report revealing the extent to which remote working may become the new norm in a post-COVID-19 world, with a strong majority of executives surveyed displaying an interest in permanently moving some of the workforce home.

The report, which surveyed 317 CFOs and Finance leaders on March 30, 2020, revealed that 74% of them intend to move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions post-COVID-19.

With 81% of CFOs previously telling Gartner that they planned to exceed their contractual obligations to hourly workers, remote work is also increasingly seen as something that will save money, a strong lure for many companies experiencing difficult times amidst pandemic.

It may also help with preventing organisations from making severe cuts to staff, and to help minimize the downside impact to operations, says Gartner.

“This data is an example of the lasting impact the current coronavirus crisis will have on the way companies do business,” says Gartner Finance Practice vice president of research Alexander Bant. 

“CFOs, already under pressure to tightly manage costs, clearly sense an opportunity to realise the cost benefits of a remote workforce. 

“In fact, nearly a quarter of respondents said they will move at least 20% of their on-site employees to permanent remote positions.”

CFOs previously reported to Gartner that they were taking additional steps to support employees in this area by adjusting to more flexible work schedules and providing company-issued work from home equipment. 

These action by finance leaders help minimise disruptions workers might be facing as a result of the crisis, says Gartner.

“Most CFOs recognise that technology and society has evolved to make remote work more viable for a wider variety of positions than ever before,” says Bant. 

“Within the finance function itself, 90% of CFOs previously reported to us that they expect minimal disruptions to their accounting close process, with almost all activities able to be executed off-site.”

As organisations continue to grapple with the ongoing business disruptions from COVID-19, permanent remote work could complement cost-cutting measures that CFOs have already taken or plan to take. 

On-premise technology spending has already seen a decline, with 20% of respondents indicating they have deferred on these costs, with an additional 12% planning to do so. 

An influx in remote working also translates to less money spent on real estate and rent expenses, with another 9% planning to take actions in this area in the coming months.