The number of money management firms with employees working from home has barely budged over the summer, a Callan survey released Wednesday showed.

Callan said 81% had not opened their offices as of Aug. 15, nearly the same as the 84% that had reported keeping their doors closed in June.

The investment consultant’s second “Coping with COVID-19” survey report said 44% of the 98 responding firms have not set a date for returning to the office.

Of the remaining universe of managers surveyed in August, 36% said they don’t expect to go back until 2021. Just 2% of firms picked that time frame in the June survey.

A September opening date was named by 12% of August respondents vs. 25% in June; an October date was picked by 7% in the recent survey, compared to 1% in the previous survey; and just 1% of those recently surveyed cited November as the month they might reopen vs. zero in the June survey.

By region, more managers — 38% each — in the U.K. and Southeastern U.S. now have staff in the office. The level of office openings was 20% on the U.S. West Coast, 12% in the Northeast and 9% in the center of the country. The offices for the two managers surveyed in the Mountain West are both closed.

Of the COVID-19 related policies adopted by managers already open for business or planning to open soon (multiple responses to these questions were permitted):

  • Half of managers surveyed have a phased return to the office.
  • Just under half (46%) have made physical adaptations to their workspaces.
  • Staggered or rotating employee schedules are in use by 43% of respondents.
  • Health-screening protocols are in place for 42% of money managers with open offices.
  • Commuting restrictions have been imposed by 20% of Callan’s survey universe, while 16% have required additional training and 10% took other actions.

About 20% of respondents said they will not reopen soon.

Three-quarters of the managers who answered Callan’s survey said at least 90% of their employees continue to work from home. A higher proportion of respondents — 78% — said they are confident that 25% or fewer of their workforces will permanently work from home.

Source: Pensions & Investments