Almost four out of five chief executives expect remote working to become more widespread in their businesses as a result of COVID-19, a global survey from accountancy firm PwC showed on Tuesday.

New York, London and some other major cities currently have only a fraction of their normal workforce in offices as employers and governments have told staff to work from home where possible.

While some authorities are now encouraging a return to work, PwC said 78% of the chief executives it surveyed expected that at least some of the shift towards remote collaboration would prove enduring.

“A blend of office and home working is most likely to be the future norm,” PwC UK’s chairman Kevin Ellis said.

Two-thirds of chief executives expected a global economic downturn as a result of COVID, and more than three-quarters expected a further shift towards automation.

PwC’s survey was based on responses from a panel of 3,500 of its clients globally conducted between June 15 and July 3. PwC’s network of firms operates across 157 countries.