Survey #2: Return-to-Work Planning Development: Results May 15, 2020

In our second survey, we wanted to help everyone get a better understanding of the details that a Return-to-Work plan and playbook entailed. So in our questions, we focused on getting clarity on the approach and components of these planning efforts.

So, we again requested the help of participants from the previous survey asked them to provide their anonymous answers to a quick survey. This is what we found:

  1. Demographics. We had 22 survey participants join us for the survey. We scaled back the industry specific questioning because we wanted to more detail around the RTW plans without extending the survey length.

Most participants were based primary in North America, with those in the Northeast (28.57%) being the highest level of participants, followed by participants from the Southwest (19.05%) and from the West (19.05%)

2. Has your company decided to enact remote-work on a long term or permanent basis?

The use of remote-work capabilities was initially implemented as an immediate response to the event. But now, 8 weeks after, we see that Remote-Work is undergoing a shift to becoming a primary strategy.

Organizations where most departments are enacting a remote-work strategy (33.33%) was the largest segment of responses. Tied only with Undecided (33.33%), which indicates that more companies may still make the decision to move most departments to a long-term/permanent strategy.

Enact remote work long term or permanent graphic

  1. Has your company decided to enact a “Return-to-Work” (RTW) strategy?

It does seem that the shift to long-term remote-work capacity does not exclude companies from having to build “Return-to-Work” planning strategies. Survey participants (52.38%) indicated that they would be enacting RTW strategies for a majority of the departments or some of their departments (33.33%).

This aligns with the general concept that most companies still believe that a majority of their business operations still require some sort of on-site presence.

Has your company decided to enact RTW strategy

  1. What is the status of your company’s Return to Work (RTW) timeline?

Companies are actively working on their RTW planning. Though a majority (52.38%) of companies are still under development, no participant surveyed indicated they hadn’t started some sort of planning effort.

What is the status of your companys RTW timeline

  1. What analyses are you doing (or will do) to determine how to approach RTW?

As BC professionals begin working on their RTW strategy, we wanted to find out what they would be doing exactly. Most indicated they would include reviewing the facilities for social distancing, cleaning, hygiene, barriers and modifications (61.90%) and a formal analysis of the critical processes that must be RTW (23.81%).

Interestingly, no one indicated changing procedures or addressing employee fear/availability as part of their RTW planning activities.

What analyses are you doing to determine how to approach RTW

  1. Have you determined your employee's "Fear of Return" or availability when planning for RTW? If so, how did you do that?

A formal analysis of the “Fear of Return” has not received much attention at this stage. However, participants indicate this is happening, but at a personal level with teams having 1:1 conversations (42.86%). Others have used Online Surveys and team discussions.

A large segment of participants (33.33%) did indicate that they haven’t formally addressed this issue, while others (19.05%) indicated that they addressed it by either publishing their RTW strategies and requesting feedback, or that HR was addressing it.

Have you determined employees fear of return to work

  1. What are your employee's reasons for "Fear of Return" (Perceived or Real)?

Because many did have conversations, we were able to receive data on how employees “Fear of Return” was playing out. A majority (80.95%) indicated that exposure to sick employees played a role in their desire to return to the office, followed by hygiene practices within the workplace (52.38%).

What are your employees reasons for fear of RTW

  1. Have you started development of an RTW Implementation Plan and/or Playbook?

We believe that development of an RTW strategy is as important as developing the playbook. A majority (57.14%) of participants agreed that they would be doing both.

Have you started development of RTW plan playbook is

  1. If building a playbook, which of the following components will you include?

When diving deeper into the components of a playbook, survey participants indicated they were building multiple pieces. The phased approach (95.45%) overwhelmingly was to be incorporated into their playbook. Followed by outlining of the approach to social distancing measures (95.45%) and what to do with a sick employee (90.91%).

Interestingly, Training (50.00%) and Employee Mental Health (40.91%) were also dominant components of the playbook.

If building a playbook which components will you include

  1. What facility modifications are you considering?

Lastly, we asked those that were implementing RTW planning, which specific facilities modifications would be explored to ensure improved hygiene or that which would encourage social distancing.

The largest planned modifications were increase of intensive cleaning (86.36%) and adoption of social distancing signage (86.36%).

What facility modifications are you considering


We wanted to get an understanding of what Business Continuity professionals are considering when they’re thinking about Return-to-Work. There is a lot that goes into this type of planning, so why not get a pulse from those in the industry about what they are starting to deal with, and share it with others.

So, we polled the 1000+ participants from our webinar on May 6 for Disaster Recovery Journal and asked them to provide their anonymous answers to a quick survey. 

Survey #1: How is Everyone Approaching Return-to-Work? Results May 8, 2020

Demographics. We had 65 survey participants representing 15 different industries. Of those, a majority of participants were Banking & Finance (26.15%), followed by Public Services, Government & Administration (16.92%) and Information Technology (10.77%).

Some participants of note included several in the healthcare (4.62%) and entertainment industries (3.08%).

Most participants were based primary in North America (84.62%) with Europe (7.58%) being the second largest group. Company size represented was in two main segments- companies with employee counts of “0-250” (28.79%) and companies with counts in the “1000-5000” (27.27%) range.


New When do you anticipate you will begin execution of RTW plan

This was the most interesting bit of data. Overwhelmingly, participants indicated that they would be readying their organizations for an RTW in the next 4-8 weeks. This puts a majority of participants in line with the recent indications that many governments are expecting or have plans to mostly open up by June.

Over 92.41% of all participants indicated they were planning on developing an RTW plan, with only 7.58% indicating they were not planning do to so even in that timeframe.

New Number One Reason Driving RTW Planning-1

Many participants didn’t feel our choices adequately indicate why they were being driven to start planning. Many participants selected “Other” (36.36%) but provided their answers. This feedback indicated that their RTW planning was driven largely by their corporate culture and that employees were wanting to RTW for a sense of normalcy.

The second most chosen answer was “Operations require access to the facilities,” which aligns with the logic that not all business processes can be executed remotely. 

RTW can also be influenced by the interaction that participants have with their customers. Simply put, many operations require their facilities because that’s where they meet their customers and provide them support.

Interestingly, “Productivity is Down” (7.58%) and “Technology” (4.55%) limitations were not reasons for immediately planning an RTW.

New Rank importance factors that will influence organizations RTW

RTW planning is very complex and involves many different factors. In our analysis, In our analysis, we found that the majority of participants would be building their planning around governmental guidance, followed by the availability of health & safety capabilities. The willingness of the workforce and financial implications were not as integral to the planning efforts.

New Which teams are a member of RTW Taskforce

We wanted to also find out who was responsible for building the RTW planning within the organization. There was clear indication that RTW taskforces were going to be comprised of “Facilities” (83.33%), “Business Continuity” (75.76%), “Human Resources” (75.76%), and “Information Technology” (71.21%).

Return-to-Work Support & Playbooks