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COVID-19, Government Restrictions Negatively Impacted Majority of Wisconsin Businesses

New survey finds that 52% of Wisconsin employers had to reduce staff in response to the pandemic

MADISON – A new survey of Wisconsin businesses revealed that most employers were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and related government restrictions. Of those surveyed, 64 percent reported the COVID-19 pandemic had a negative financial impact on their business, with 52 percent reporting they reduced staff.

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber and manufacturers’ association – conducted the survey over the first three weeks of June on a variety of topics. On Monday, WMC released survey data specifically on the COVID-19 pandemic and the changing workplace.

“Government-mandated lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic devastated Wisconsin businesses, forcing many to cut costs and reduce staff,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt Bauer. “With roughly half of Wisconsinites fully vaccinated, employers are now looking to increase staff levels and get our economy moving again.”

A previous release from the Summer 2021 Wisconsin Employer Survey explained that nearly 80 percent of employers are looking to add staff before the end of the year. That has resulted in a significant increase in wages, sign-on bonuses and flexible schedules in an effort to attract workers.

As businesses return to normal, they are faced with the fact that many employees can, in fact, work from home. For companies that moved staff out of traditional offices, they raised concerns about loss of company culture, decreased collaboration and lack of communication. Moving forward, only five percent of respondents said they would allow employees to work from home permanently.

Additionally, the Employer Survey revealed that most Wisconsin businesses would require employees to return to the office in the next year, with 74 percent indicating employees had already returned to in-person work.

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, about one in five Wisconsin businesses are offering their employees incentives to get the shots. One-third of those companies are offering additional paid-time off for getting the vaccine, while others are offering cash bonuses and gift cards.

“Wisconsin employers are ready to get back to work,” added Bauer. “While offices will likely look different moving forward, this survey shows most of us are just ready to get back to normal.”

WMC plans to release additional data from the Wisconsin Employer Survey shortly. The final topic will be Wisconsin’s economy. WMC surveyed 266 employers that make up a representative sample of its membership. Businesses of all sizes, industries and geographic locations in Wisconsin participated.

Click here to download the entire Wisconsin Employer Survey – COVID-19 and The Changing Workplace report.




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