With the official end of "New York State on PAUSE" imminent, a survey shows that Big I New York members are taking the first steps toward more normal conditions with care. While a siginificat number of them continued to work from their offices after the stay-at-home order shuttered non-essential businesses, those that did not are bringing staff back gradually and with an eye toward employee safety and security.
The survey started on May 12 and drew responses from all corners of the state. Of those who responded, more than one in four said that they never stopped working at their office locations. Of the rest, roughly equal numbers said they would bring staff back immediately or would continue working remotely for the time being. The rest expected to have their staff back within a month.
Members are aware of their employees' comfort level with working in the office during a pandemic. More than a third said that their employees who are uncomfortable returning to the office will continue to work from home. A smaller number will bring staff back in stages, with about the same number bringing everyone back immediately and a fraction keeping everyone home for now.
Almost half (45%) of members said they will watch the news to determine whether or when to let third parties into their offices. At opposite ends of the spectrum, 18% will let customers and carrier representatives visit immediately and 17% will keep their doors shut for the foreseeable future.
One thing seems certain: Employees will not be rubbing elbows anytime soon. A full 86% of respondents said they will maintain at least six feet of separation between employees. Three-quarters will require handwashing and sanitizing, use of masks and other personal protective equipment, and regular cleaning of surfaces and equipment. Smaller numbers plan employee training (70%), making employees responsible for monitoring their own health (59%), and posting reminder signs around the workplace (53%). In addition, some respondents say they are erecting physical barriers between workstations (one member sent photos of plastic sheets hanging between desks), closing lunchrooms and conference rooms, removing customer chairs from lobbies and offices, putting up plexiglass to separate staff from customers, and taking away reuseable drinking cups.
The survey asked members to identify things they need from Big I New York at this time, and several provided thoughtful answers. Some needs we may be able to fulfill (guidance, information on regulations); others may be more difficult (sources for obtaining cleaning supplies.) One member asked for safe transportation in Manhattan. We're deferring to the governor and the mayor on that one. We will pursue some of the non-transportation related requests in the coming days and weeks.
The survey had drawn 426 responses as of late Thursday afternoon, with 25% of them coming from Long Island. The Hudson Valley was next (15%) and Western New York was third with 12%. New York City made up 7% of responses, and the rest of the state was also in single-digits.
Upstate Results Downstate Results
For more COVID-19 resources, visit www.biginy.org/coronavirus.