As the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and the American economy edges closer to something approaching “normal,” millions of American workers are preparing to return to their old workplace. But many of them are concerned that they are heading back to the office before it is safe to do so.
MindEdge/Skye Learning’s latest national survey – a poll of 848 Americans who worked remotely at some point during the past year – was conducted online during the week of April 19, 2021. The top finding: among workers who have not yet returned to their old workplace, 59% are concerned that their safety may be at risk.
Among those who have already returned to work, 74% felt safe when they got back to the office – but 26% did not.
Looking to the future, most workers say they would prefer a hybrid working arrangement, where they would spend one or more days of the week working at home. On average, survey respondents say they would like to spend about 3.3 days per week at their old workplace; only 24% would like to spend all five days in the office.
The survey results indicate widespread concern about the safety of post-pandemic workplaces. Among workers who have not yet returned to the office, 59% say they are “very” or “fairly” concerned that they will have to go back to the office before it is safe to do so; only 39% express a low level of concern, and 2% are not sure. Among those who have already returned to their old workplace – a group that makes up 43% of the overall sample – 74% felt safe when they returned, while 26% did not.
The data also show that most workers are not interested in returning to the office on a full-time basis. Close to half (49%) of survey respondents say their company will switch to a hybrid work schedule; only 21% say their company will resume a full-time office schedule, and 31% are not sure. Among all respondents, only 24% say they want to spend five days a week at their old workplace; on average, workers say they want to work for 3.3 days a week in the office, and spend the rest of the week working from home.
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