Chicago Business Executive Pulse: Wave 1 Topical Insights

By far, the preventive measure companies are most likely to impose as employees return to the office is having employees wear face masks in the office (93%).

  • Presidents, Chairmen, or C-level Execs are especially in agreement here with 100% of them responding they are likely to have face masks upon returning to the office (compared to only 83% of Vice Presidents saying this).
  • 81% of Chicagoland businesses said they would also impose testing as employees return to the office.
  • A lower 63% said they would be very/somewhat likely to require waivers not to sue over COVID-19.
  • Surprisingly, nearly a quarter of Chicagoland businesses (24%) said they are unlikely to have staggered work hours or work weeks.

Chicagoland business leaders with children are mainly in favor of sending their kids back to school in the fall, but only for online classes.

  • 14% reported this for their preschool/daycare age children, 17% for K-8, and 15% for High School.
  • The only outlier comes in those who have children in college. The largest portion (12%) said that they would definitely send them back in person this fall if given the option.

Where should a Chicago Casino go, according to Chicagoland businesses? Nearly 3 in 10 (27%) responded that a Chicago Casino should be located within the greater downtown Chicago area.

  • To add to this, 26% believe that it should go specifically in McCormick Place Lakeside Center (East Building) along the lakefront.

Though there are many top issues facing American cities right now, Chicago tort & pension reform is still a big one for Chicagoland businesses, with pension form winning out.

  • 87% said that it is very/somewhat important to them for the GA to enact tort reform, while a vast majority (91%) said the same about pension reform.
  • The lower the company revenue, the more important pension reform is. 96% of companies with revenue less than $5M said it is somewhat/very important compared with 89% of companies with revenue over $50M.

What in-person meetings are Chicagoland businesses itching to get back to? Overall, Team meetings are the ones that businesses are most ready to attend in person, with 43% saying they would do so immediately or within 1-30 days from now.

  • Team meetings are closely followed by small-group lunch/breakfast (41%).
  • It will be a longer wait for trade shows and conferences, however. Nearly a quarter (22%) said they would wait one year or longer before attending one again in person.

When it comes to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed graduated income tax which would raise taxes on people who earn $250,000 or more a year, Chicagoland businesses are pretty split.

  • More than half (55%) report that they are either strongly or somewhat in favor of it, while 45% are either somewhat or very opposed to it.


Download the full cross-tabs

This survey was fielded online from August 5 – August 14, 2020, among a sample of 200 Chicago DMA business executives split between 150 midsize and 50 enterprise firms. Business executives are defined as Business Owner or Equity Partner; President, Chairman, or C-level Executive; Managing Director; Senior Vice President; Vice President; or Director.