Survey Results: How Employees Feel About Returning to the Workplace

Survey Results: How Employees Feel About Returning to the Workplace

There has been an abundance of information published about when business leaders want their employees to return to the workplace. However, we’ve noticed a shortage of data on how employees are feeling. To dig into this topic, we sent out a confidential survey over the last few days to more than 2,000 Human Resources, Finance and Accounting contacts to gather data on their perceptions, preferences, and concerns.

Professionals from individual contributor through VP level, across more than 30 industries, have completed our survey. Here are the results, followed by some of our key takeaways:

Question 1:

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Question 2:

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Question 3:

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Question 4:

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Observations and Takeaways:

  • A large percentage of the respondents believe they’ll be required to return to the workplace before they are ready.
  • Avoiding illness is a concern for more than 75% of our population.
  • Effects on Culture is the second highest cited concern, followed closely by Office Layout for Social Distancing.
  • The percentage of employees wanting to remain remote permanently was higher than we expected, including 24% of HR practitioners, who are typically more people focused.
  • 25% of the respondents are concerned about their ability to care for children or family.

 

COVID-19 has undoubtedly affected every person and organization. In the short term, the adjustments made by employers and employees alike has been nothing short of amazing. While most people probably considered workforce redeployment and business continuity to be monumental challenges, returning employees to the workforce is going to present a brand new set of hurdles.

It’s clear that employees don’t feel aligned with their leaders on timing, and fear is rampant. Whenever the process begins, employers will need to take adequate steps to ensure their employees feel safe.

Culture was a critical component of job satisfaction and employee retention before the virus, and it will need to become even more of a focus when faced with a reduction in person-to-person contact and engagement due to social distancing. Communication will be critical, and companies who don’t address Culture will be at risk of losing key employees.

In many of our daily conversations, we find that people who are still employed are grateful to have a job, and they seem to be working pretty effectively. However, some employees are working harder out of fear of losing their jobs, and they’re often frustrated or starting to feel disengaged. They’re also nervous about their plans to return to the office being out of sync with those of their leaders. A number of our impressions were supported by the data accumulated by only a few questions.

We will continue taking the pulse of the employee talent pool in our market, and we’ll keep sharing our findings. If you have any questions you’d like us to tackle, please let us know. In the meantime, we wish you health, safety, and sanity as we all continue to navigate these choppy waters.