June 26, 2021

Return to Office After Covid-19 - The Data and Impact

The Covid-19 vaccinations are here, and widely available to just about anyone who wants one. Fortunately, the vaccines are proving to be effective and bringing down reported Coronavirus cases.  Many people who have been working from home, are now being asked by their employers to return to the office, and it’s now always met with warm sentiments. Below are some facts and figures with how employers are handling the easing restrictions and thinking about bringing their teams back to work in person again.

How many people were working from home at the height of the pandemic?

According to Gallup, in April 2020, 70% of US workers were working from home, or remotely.  Overall organizations did a great job of protecting their workforce and making the quick shift to remote work in an effort to protect their team and help their business continue to generate revenue.

What are the top three factors employers are concerned about with an entirely virtual workforce?

  • Socialization - Creating an environment where socialization still exists, whether it be with virtual team building activities, or online happy hours. 
  • Collaboration - how to bring great minds together to build something better. Whiteboarding just isn’t as easy when everyone isn’t in the same room
  • Innovation - creating something new and innovative, brainstorming and fueling the innovation with lively discussions

Do employees like to work from home?

Overall yes, a recent study shows 61% of the workforce want to continue to work remotely. Many are very hesitant to commit to returning to the office full time.

How much of the workforce is working remotely now?

As of June 2021, 56% of the workforce in the US is working remote and not going into the office in any capacity.

Are most companies requiring their staff to return to the office?

73% of organizations that shifted to virtual work, would like their team to return to office at least 3 days a week. This isn’t always met with warm sentiments from the employees as individuals have gotten accustomed to the benefits of working remotely including saving time by eliminating the commute, not dressing up for work, and being able to spend more time in the comfort of their own home.

How are employees responding to the return to office demands made by their employers?

Not well. According to the BLS, employees are resigning from their positions at the highest rate in over 20 years. In April 2021 four million people willingly left their jobs for greener pastures. Employees have leverage, especially those in tough to fill roles, like technology and finance. 

What is hybrid work?

It’s a blended work from home model where employees split time working at home and in the office. One of the trends we’re seeing now is that organizations aren’t allowing employees to work from home Monday and Friday. Thus not allowing staff to elongate the weekend by lounging on the sofa on Monday, or clocking out a bit early Friday afternoon to to get a head start on the weekend. 

What percent of the US population is vaccinated?

According to the CDC 45% of the population is fully vaccinated as of June 25, 2021. 

What states are leading the pack with the highest percentage of vaccinated residents?

  1. Vermont - 64%
  2. Maine 60%
  3. Massachusetts 60%
  4. Connecticut 59%
  5. Rhode Island 57%

*Data source

Will this new work culture be long lasting?

79% of people leaders and HR managers believe a virtual first or hybrid work model will be in place for years to come. 

Has employee productivity dropped with remote and hybrid work? 

Initial surveys taken from managers and people leaders at US based companies showed 62% cited drops in productivity within 4 weeks after the initial shift to working from home. However as teams acclimated to the new remote environment and were equipped with the technology and processes needed to make the remote work more effective, productivity rebounded to levels seen before the Coronavirus pandemic hit.

What rate of employees struggle with mental health due to the pandemic?

Workforce survey data shows 28% of employees self reported they were suffering from anxiety and depression due to the pandemic.   Organizations can help combat this by offering as much flexibility as possible to allow the employees to work the days, locations, and times that are convenient for them, so long as productivity isn’t negatively impacted. This is also one of the reasons employers do want employees to socialize in the office and return to work. Socializing at work has underlying benefits that aren't always obvious.


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