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As Employers Look to Reopen Workplaces, Employees Want Work Location Flexibility


In our most recent survey of how companies and employees are navigating the COVID pandemic, sixty-three percent of respondents say their company is planning the return to the workplace and figuring out what the new normal will be. One in ten survey takers does not foresee returning to the office at all. Almost two-thirds of employees said that they were able to complete all aspects of their job from home. Over half of companies took steps to facilitate productive remote work by adopting new technology to ease the transition. 

Work from Home Expectation vs. Reality

Before the pandemic, 6 in 10 workers said they were keen on working from home. Now that it has become a forced-upon-everyone reality, only about a quarter of employees say they want to continue working from home all of the time. The majority (63%) say that they would prefer to split their time between home and the company office after this experience. Citing that working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, 9% said that they want to work from the corporate office exclusively post-pandemic (which is equal to the number of people who had zero interest in remote work pre-crisis). In an earlier survey exploring the sudden pivot to working from home, we learned that for one-third of employers, the COVID pandemic brought about the company’s first-ever remote work policy. For another 44%, the COVID-inspired plan was a more flexible iteration of an existing one. Three-quarters of those surveyed expect that it is more likely than not that companies will be more flexible about remote work in the future. 

A Safe Return to Work

Just under half expect to see their workplaces reopen within the next two months, and another quarter of respondents predict it will be 3-6 months before companies welcome them back on-site. But will workers feel safe to return and work from the office again? Just over half have high confidence in their employer’s ability to keep their health secure at work. But almost two in ten are not so sure about putting their physical well-being in the hands of their company. Health security will be an increasingly important element of a company’s employer brand. To learn more about talent attitudes about returning to work, click for the research results here