RSM Survey Shows How COVID-19 Has Influenced the Working World

A permanent workforce transformation is underway in the middle market, according to the RSM US Middle Market Business Index (MMBI) Back to Work Special Report, presented by RSM US LLP in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The report reveals the structural shift to remote and hybrid work models is here to stay, and the data confirms that executives expect a tight labor market will continue to be a significant challenge over the next year.

In the fourth quarter of 2021, more than a third (36 percent) of middle market companies polled stated they have employees working remotely who weren’t doing so prior to the onset of the pandemic. Of those, 65 percent are embracing hybrid work, meaning employees work off-site some of the time and in the office some of the time.

Almost half (48 percent) of the survey respondents have made remote work a permanent option for some employees on a full-time basis, while 42 percent are considering making that shift.

“The pandemic has been a once-in-a-century event that has significantly altered people’s lives and society as a whole,” said Joe Brusuelas, RSM US LLP chief economist. “It has also changed the entire perspective of where, when and how people work. The office of the future will have new standards and employ people with different priorities. Middle market companies that provide the flexibility and culture that workers demand stand to gain a prominent and lasting competitive advantage, all the more important in an incredibly tight labor market that has shifted the balance of power to employees for the foreseeable future.”

In the middle market, earlier concerns around reduced productivity, teamwork and culture were proven mostly unfounded. Of the survey respondents that previously did not allow remote work, 77 percent said reduced productivity was not an issue at all or a minor issue. A majority (70 percent) stated reduced teamwork was either a minor issue or not an issue at all, and 75 percent said the challenges of managing workers created by remote working were not an issue at all or only a minor issue.

Although 27 percent of respondents said that remote work created a major issue in maintaining culture, 68 percent of companies reported that it resulted in only a minor issue, or it wasn’t an issue at all.

For more information on the survey, visit