In the past year, we’ve seen the pandemic shift when, where, and how people work. As companies plan to reopen this summer, many are curious how employees’ expectations of their employers have changed. To better understand how the workplace experience will need to change, we partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 1,000 workers. We asked about safety concerns, sentiment towards hybrid work, and what will influence when and where people will work.Here are the key findings of the study. You can read the full report here.
Concerns about health and safety in the workplace remain high
A majority (66%) of employees say they are worried about their health and safety when it comes to returning to the workplace. Concerns are even more pronounced among people of color (78%) and Gen Z (under age 25) employees (75%) who fear a return to the workplace could compromise their health and safety.
A majority of employees fear their companies won’t adequately protect their health, with 61% worried their workplace will relax COVID measures too early.
Employees want companies to mandate COVID-19 vaccines
A majority (62%) of employees believe companies should require workers to get a COVID vaccine before they are permitted to work in the office. That sentiment is even stronger among technology and business services sector employees, with 76% saying vaccines should be mandatory for any employee who wishes to return to the workplace.
A hybrid work model is preferred across industries and especially among people of color
Nearly half of respondents (48%) say they’d like to work some days remotely and some days from the office. That sentiment is even stronger among people of color, with 59% expressing a preference for a hybrid work arrangement. Interest in hybrid work isn’t specific to knowledge workers. Employees in industries that typically require on-site work—including 61% of healthcare employers, 41% of construction/manufacturing workers, and 34% of retail and hospitality workers— say they would prefer to work under a hybrid model.
Many workers (41%) say they would be willing to take a job with a lower salary if their company offered a hybrid work model. Also, 47% of employees say they would likely leave their job if it didn’t offer a hybrid work model once the pandemic ends.
To that end, more than half (56%) of employees believe a hybrid work model would impact them in a positive way. They see that the top benefit of hybrid work is less time and money spent commuting (38%). Other benefits include better work/life balance (34%) and improved work performance (21%).
Employees want to move work forward in the office together
Employees want to get back to the workplace to keep work moving and collaborate with others. Respondents said they would decide where to work based on what they need to get done for work (39%) and who else plans to be at the workplace that day (37%).
Knowing who else will work on-site each day holds special importance for office workers. Fifty-two percent of office workers said that their co-workers’ work schedules will influence their own. Work friends influence people to work on-site more than the presence of a boss or supervisor. Twenty-three percent of employees said they would work from the office to see friends, compared to 18% who would go in to secure face time with their boss.
The report was conducted by independent research firm Wakefield research. This report uses survey data to understand the impact of remote work in response to COVID-19. More than 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18+, employed full- or part-time, were surveyed through an online survey between February 8th and February 16th. The data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of full-time and part-time employees in the U.S., ages 18+. The overall margin of error for the findings is ±3.1% at a 95% confidence level.
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