Workers Have Been Able To Return To Offices With Some Restrictions Since May, But Most Colorado Companies Are Keeping People Home

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Office towers in downtown Denver.

Most Colorado companies are allowing employees to work from home in some capacity. Roughly a third report their workforce is almost entirely remote as the pandemic upends office culture.

A vast majority of businesses — 87 percent — are offering full or partial remote working options, according to a survey conducted by the Colorado Chamber of Commerce this week. The survey represents roughly 50 companies of varying sizes and industries.

More than 60 percent of respondents said remote working had no impact on productivity. Still, 18 percent said remote work hurt productivity. That compares with 16 percent that found remote work having a positive impact on productivity, according to the survey, the fourth in a series designed to assess the impact of COVID-19.

Most workers were forced to stay home during the stay-at-home order that took effect in March, but offices were allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity in early May.

The survey results suggest that many companies are holding their employees to more stringent social-distancing guidelines than those imposed by the state.

About 40 percent of respondents have taken federal assistance granted under the CARES Act.

Roughly 65 percent of companies said protection from liability issues related to the pandemic is the best thing the federal government could offer in future policymaking. That was followed by 41 percent that want funding for testing, the survey found, and 39 percent that prioritize small business loans.

In terms of financial outlook, 35 percent said it dimmed during the last two months, while about 45 percent said it was unchanged. Roughly 13 percent said their outlook improved during that time frame.  

U.S. gross domestic product, a measure of goods and services produced, fell 9.5 percent during the second quarter, marking the biggest drop on record. Businesses were hoping for a rapid rebound following the lockdown orders that swept the country in March, but a resurgence of the virus has some states rolling back plans to reopen.