Omaha, Neb., March 26 – Eighty-five percent of Omaha businesses say their top concern related to COVID-19 is “direct financial impact,” according to data released today by the Greater Omaha Chamber.
Survey respondents’ No. 2 concern was “potential recession” (54 percent), followed by “ability to retain staff” (29 percent).
While the chamber cautions the data are “preliminary and anecdotal,” the 116 responses to an emailed, chamber-member survey, offer an early glimpse into business leaders’ perspectives and practices in a rapidly evolving pandemic.
“Clearly, businesses are anxious right now,” said David G. Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber, “but, the data also noted just 16 percent of respondents were concerned about ‘productivity of staff,’ which leads us to believe Omaha’s business leaders are putting people first. Significant disruptions like this one present challenges that must be met head on. Solving challenges create opportunities. Working together, we can meet and beat this challenge.”
The survey, emailed to chamber members March 19, allowed recipients five days to respond, and also included opportunities to reflect on staffing, with 81 of the 116 participating companies reporting they remain “fully staffed.” Of that total, 69 percent of employees, are working from home, respondents noted. Ten of the companies responding to the survey reported they have either permanently – or temporarily – closed.
Resiliency, while not directly measured by the survey, was reflected in open-ended responses, with one survey participant noting, “Our healthcare workers, political leaders, and business owners bear a great burden. The rest of us share an obligation to take this crisis seriously and do our part to ‘reduce the curve.’ For businesses and workers that are not structured we have a choice: finding a corner to curl up and hide in, or look up toward the horizon.”
Brian Branigan is president of P3, Power Protection Products, Inc., a Greater Omaha Chamber member for more than 20 years, Branigan says he is “learning that it is times like these we learn to thrive again, and its times like these we come closer together as a team.”
Brown said Branigan’s remarks, as well as several responses noted in the survey, reflect the business community’s motivation to move forward, and the chamber’s commitment to creating continuity during uncertain times.
Leslie Andersen, CEO of Bank of Bennington echoed Brown’s remarks, “None of us are experts on everything, and we need to be able to rely on each other for help. By working together, we can, and will, come out stronger when this crisis is over.” Andersen is also 2020 chair of the Greater Omaha Chamber’s Small Business Council.
“Your chamber is working hard to provide information you can trust to help you make informed decisions. Even in this technology-driven communication world, we are providing opportunities to connect with others so you can continue to do business in the days and weeks ahead. We are a tool for you,” Brown said. “We are in this together. Use us.”
View the Greater Omaha Chamber’s COVID-19 Crisis Response Resources.
About the Greater Omaha Chamber
The mission of the Greater Omaha Chamber is to champion a thriving business community and a prosperous region through visionary leadership and collaboration.