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CFOs are already thinking beyond the end of the coronavirus and have plans to shift at least some of their onsite workforce to remote positions, according to a survey of CFOs and finance leaders by Gartner taken on March 30, 2020.

The survey found that 74% intend to move at least 5% of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions post-COVID 19. Nearly a quarter of respondents said they will move at least 20% of their on-site employees to permanent remote positions.

Also, 13% of respondents noted they had already made cost reductions in real estate expenses, with another 9% planning to take actions in this area in the coming months. “This data is an example of the lasting impact the current coronavirus crisis will have on the way companies do business,” said Alexander Bant, practice vice president, research for the Gartner Finance Practice in prepared remarks. “CFOs, already under pressure to tightly manage costs, clearly sense an opportunity to realize the cost benefits of a remote workforce.”

The coronavirus has already ushered in workforce changes for these companies. In an earlier survey, 81% of CFOs told Gartner that they planned to exceed their contractual obligations to hourly workers and that they were taking such steps to support employees as adjusting to more flexible work schedules and providing company-issued work from home equipment. Gartner said that the move to remote work is an example of creative cost savings senior finance leaders are seeking in order to avoid more severe cuts and minimize the downside impact to operations.

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