Insights

Less Than Half of Employees Eager to Return to Office

Business people greeting during COVID 19 pandemic, elbow bump

If you are currently working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are you looking forward to getting back to the office, or would you rather continue to shelter at home? Have you enjoyed the lack of commute or do you crave some sense of normality and routine? Glassdoor conducted a survey of over 2,000 employees to find out how people feel about returning to work.

It turns out that only 44 percent of UK employees currently working from home as a result of COVID-19 are eager to return to the office, with many people expecting significant changes to their usual working environment when they do. The survey found that 46 percent of respondents expect to return to their office in some capacity between June and August 2020, with a further 30 percent expecting to be back at their desks between September and October this year. One percent did not expect to return to their office until 2021!

Whatever the date that people do eventually return to work, it is clear that things will not return to normal, in the short-term at least. Seven in ten (72 percent) employees currently working from home envisage a slow, phased return to the office, and once there, 75 percent expect to have to sit 2 meters apart from their colleagues. Two thirds of employees anticipate restrictions on how people use the corridors, 64 percent expect limited use of communal spaces such as kitchens / bathrooms and one third (34 percent) expect to see barriers or screens up around the office. Even more extreme, one quarter (27 percent) of employees expect everyone to wear masks and 16 percent expect people to wear gloves at work. 

Despite these logistical challenges, of those that are eager to return to the office, 69 percent want to return to some sort of normality, 63 percent want to socialize with colleagues, 38 percent are simply tired of working from home and 36 percent say there are fewer distractions in the office. 

Many people are understandably cautious about returning to the office, imagining all sorts of restrictions ranging from which entrances and exits they can use to how they get a cup of coffee. Wearing a mask and gloves all day sitting at a desk does not sound like much fun: so much so that 63 percent of employees are open to working from home full time and never going back to the office. 

Office Based Perks Matter Less?

Free food, games machines, fancy coffee machines and on-site gyms were once the de facto standard for cool offices. But post-pandemic, might that all be about to change? Over half of employees (57 percent) currently working from home say that office-based perks such as those mentioned above are now less important to them. Furthermore, 58 percent say that they now place more emphasis on employee benefits and perks related to physical and mental wellbeing, such as mindfulness and fitness apps, wellbeing allowances, private healthcare and access to online therapy. 

Employers That Look After Employees Now Will Boost Their Employer Brand

Glassdoor’s survey also reveals that almost nine in ten (87 percent) of employees say they would be more likely to apply for a job at a company that looked after its employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. This suggests that companies are under scrutiny by job seekers in terms of the way they behave towards employees in challenging times, and that any efforts to look after their people will have a significant return on investment in terms of reputation. 

Related [ Novartis Supports COVID-19 Fight With the Power of its People ]

Related [ 3 Companies Looking After Their Employees AND Supporting the Global COVID-19 Fight ]

If your company has any innovative ways that it’s supporting those on the front line, or has put in place some cool ways to support employees right now, let us know! Leave a review on Glassdoor today.

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