A “second wave” of Covid-19 topped executive concerns for the second quarter in a row during the third quarter, according to the “Emerging Risks Monitor Report” released by Garner Inc.

“The consistency with which executives around the world are highlighting the second wave of Covid-19 as the top risk is notable in light of a looming and significant US presidential election, continued extreme weather events and broad social instability,” said Matt Shinkman, VP with the Gartner Risk and Audit Practice.

“The pandemic has either exacerbated many of the other risks noted by executives in our report or created entirely new sets of operational risk areas, so it makes sense that concerns over a second wave predominate,” Shinkman continued.

Executives also expressed concerns over managing long-term remote work and their organization’s strategic responses in the face of the pandemic and related economic disruptions.

Executives said that 19% of their workforces will be permanently remote compared to just 10% pre-pandemic, according to the report.

“We are beginning to see executives come to terms with prolonged remote work in a way that wasn’t feasible in the early stages of the pandemic, with the abruptness of the move revealing large operational holes in the ability to manage people and risks,” Shinkman said.

He noted that HR leaders have stepped up monitoring of employee productivity with 73% indicating they are partaking in some sort of monitoring, compared to less than half in April.

The report surveyed 119 senior executives across industries and geographies.