As US vaccination rates increase and cases decline, employers and employees are shifting their focus toward reopening workplaces and the future of work post-pandemic.
Against that backdrop, Scoop Technologies recently conducted a nation-wide survey to understand readiness and perspectives on the future of work and the workplace.
Here are my top takeaways for employers to consider as they finalize their office reopening plans in the coming months.
1) Most US workers will feel comfortable returning to the workplace by the end of September
58.9% of employees reported that they are extremely or somewhat comfortable returning to the workplace in the coming months. As each month passes, cases decline, and vaccination rates increase, expect comfort returning to the workplace to increase as well. Schools reopening after Labor Day in many parts of the country will also increase employee comfort with returning to the workplace.
2) Employers can increase confidence in workplace reentry by coming out with a strong POV on vaccines
71.9% of respondents indicated that vaccines should be required or strongly encouraged for all employees returning to the workplace. Employers that communicate a clear health & safety policy, along with the importance of getting vaccinated, will be able to soothe any concerns among employees returning to the workplace.
3) The majority of employees want a hybrid in-office & remote workplace environment
62.1% of respondents want to come into the office somewhere between 1-4 days a week. Employees have gotten used to increased work flexibility over the course of the pandemic, and expect employers to offer flexibility on a go-forward basis.
4) 2-3 days a week in-office will be the most common hybrid work split
Nearly half of employees believed that 2-3 days in office was the ideal amount of days per week spent working in the office. I expect we’ll see a lot of experimentation with days in office as employees return and determine what works best for their productivity and quality of life.
5) Only 1 in 8 employees want to work in the office five days a week
This is perhaps the most seismic shift from pre-pandemic to post-pandemic work. We’ve gone from a world where the vast majority of employees are in the office five days a week to a world where only 13% expect to be in the office every day. The implications for how we work, what the workplace looks like, corporate real estate footprint, and many other aspects of how we work are only beginning to be felt.
6) A quarter of employees would choose full remote work
Nearly 2x as many respondents said the ideal work schedule would be full remote vs. five days in the office a week. Employers appear to be hesitant to move to full remote environments -- only 11% have communicated to employees that they intend to be fully remote post-pandemic.
7) Employers are recognizing the desire for hybrid work and changing their work policies accordingly
72% of respondents reported that their employers will offer a hybrid work environment post-pandemic. In just the last two weeks, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook have communicated a hybrid work future with increasing flexibility for employees. It certainly appears that hybrid work is going to be the future.
8) The 17% of “in-office only” employers are going to face talent struggles
The labor market is increasingly competitive, and the supply of potential employers for a given employee has increased exponentially with hybrid work. Employers that require employees to come into the workplace five days a week are going to find themselves out of step with competing employers and out of touch with employee demands.
9) Employees are concerned about equity and fairness in a hybrid work environment
While both employees and employers want a hybrid work environment, only a third of respondents were extremely or somewhat confident that their employers will offer equal and fair options for flex and remote work. Employers will need to monitor engagement and promotion rates carefully to make sure employees that are in the workplace less frequently are treated equitably with employees in the workplace more frequently.
10) Perspectives on the workplace and future of work are likely to shift considerably in the next six months
In the next three months a strong majority of employers and employees will begin a hybrid work experiment at national scale. We’ll quickly learn what works, what doesn’t work, and how we might need to evolve our perspectives on work and the workplace. It will be fascinating to see where we end up and what best practices we develop along the way!
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