Two-thirds of Remote Workers are Planning to Go Back to the Office – But Not Every Day, Qualtrics Study Shows
Majority of U.S. workers say they will sit next to each other and even shake hands after the pandemic is over; 48% are comfortable with a workplace hug
While 67% of remote and hybrid workers plan to return to the office this year, only 13% say they will go back five days a week, according to new research from Qualtrics (Nasdaq: XM). Half as many women as men said they will return five days a week (9% vs. 18%), and only 5% of individual contributors who have been working from home said they will go into the office every day, compared to 24% of senior leaders.
As we get closer to the end of the pandemic phase of COVID and companies are bringing people back to shared workspaces, safety is no longer the only concern for workers. Long commutes and a belief that working from home is just as productive are the top reasons keeping employees from taking advantage of reopened offices.
Support for office vaccine mandates has dropped from 66% to 59% over the past year, and when asked to imagine work-life post-pandemic, 78% of employees say they will be comfortable returning to in-person work meetings, 73% will sit next to coworkers, 62% will shake hands and 54% will be comfortable attending large in-person gatherings. Nearly half (48%) even say a workplace hug will be appropriate when the pandemic is over.
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“As companies craft and communicate these plans, it’s vital that they have insight into the concerns that remain for their employees. That way they can truly empathize and address employees’ worries and uncertainties head-on as they evolve the work environment.”
Among remote and hybrid employees who already have the option to work in the office, the main reasons they are staying home are that they are more productive (17%), they want to avoid the commute (17%), they feel there is no need to go into the office (15%), they don’t want to wear a mask (8%) and no one else is in the office (6%).
“Employers have been discussing return-to-office plans since the beginning of the pandemic, and now the crystal ball is finally starting to show a clearer picture of what the future of work experience might look like,” said Qualtrics Head of Employee Experience Advisory Services Benjamin Granger, Ph.D. “As companies craft and communicate these plans, it’s vital that they have insight into the concerns that remain for their employees. That way they can truly empathize and address employees’ worries and uncertainties head-on as they evolve the work environment.”
Overall, 40% of employees say they are comfortable returning to the office now, but 18% say they don’t want to return to the office no matter what. The rest would return depending on COVID safety and work-life improvements. A quarter (25%) say they would return if everyone were vaccinated, 15% would return if they were paid more and 10% would return if the office were a better working environment. For Gen Z, the main thing that would convince them to return to the office is being paid more, while for Millennials, Gen X and Boomers, their number one stipulation is that all workers be vaccinated.
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