Some 43% of US workers are on the fence in terms of returning back to work amid high levels of productivity from working remotely. This according to the June survey by the Conference Board.
43% Contemplating Return to the Workplace
As more and more offices plan to reopen their doors in the coming months concerns towards returning to work over possibly contracting COVID-19 or exposing family members have taken a back seat to productivity issues. In fact, June’s poll indicates a drop by half in regards to contracting COVID-19. It was down 24% from September’s poll which was 48%.
However, a clear divide among workers is seen concerning the prospects of coming back to work. For instance, lower-level employees, women, and Millennials are questioning the need to return to the office at all. While CEOs, men, and baby boomers indicate no qualms about returning to the workplace.
Other findings of the survey include:
- More than one in ten say that their productivity has increased significantly while around half report that their level of engagement stayed the same compared to the pre-pandemic period.
- Half of the women survey question the wisdom of coming back to the office compared to a third (33%) of men.
- Millennials (55%) oppose the move to reopen office followed by Generation X (45%) and Baby Boomers (36%).
- A fourth of those surveyed note concerns over the deterioration of mental health, up from 13% in September and January. Stress/burnout is the top well-being concern among workers, particularly among women, Millennials, and individual contributors.
- On average, respondents believe that more than half of their organization’s full-time workers will have a hybrid work arrangement. Almost 40% will work 2 to 3 days remotely; 13% will be remotely one day per week and on-site 4 days, and another 30% will be in the office 5 days per week.
More People are Comfortable
Despite the skepticism of returning to the office, being comfortable returning to the workplace has increased in the last six months. Nearly 40% of respondents are very comfortable or even want to return, compared to only 17% in September 2020. Those surveyed also believe their employers have acted on their concerns throughout last year.
Some 87% agree to some degree, with 35% agreeing, and 52% agreeing strongly that their employers have their safety at heart. According to the survey, some two-thirds of workers will be back in the office in the next three months. With nearly half or 43% expecting to return to the office by the end of September. And to date, only 12% have already returned to the workplace as of June 2021.
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There is benefit to in-person interactions and having people in the same room. For too long management equated time spent in the office with productivity and rewarded it accordingly. Hopefully we can move to a system that measures productivity more accurately, and then let people do what helps them be most productive.