Perceptyx, the employee survey and people analytics platform, released new data last week from over 750,000 employees that shows a sharp decline in the percentage who want to return to the physical workplace full-time post-COVID. In early April 2020, 33 percent noted they want to return, while at the end of June, that number dropped to just 4 percent.
These results are in direct response, it appears, with the number who feel their productivity in working from home has increased. The percentage of favorable responses to “my remote work environment enables me to work productively” has shifted from 86 percent to nearly 100.
“In looking at these data collected starting back in March, there has been a clear shift as employees have had the time to create a suitable remote working environment and mastered remote work tools - the newness has paved the way to the familiar,” said Brett Wells, Ph.D., Director of People Analytics at Perceptyx. “The combination of the growing experience with remote work and the additional flexibility and resources made available have negatively impacted the desire to go back to the office.”
These results are based on the responses from more than 100 global enterprises, who represent every major industry. This data collection is part of a larger effort where Perceptyx has offered, completely free of charge, surveys focused on companies’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whether this trend is here to stay or will continue to shift will depend on a number of factors, including:
The ongoing impact of COVID-19: States and cities have reopened with mixed success, and given the recent sharp increase in cases, many employees are likely worried about this second wave. In turn, they want to limit their exposure to unnecessary risks that might come from returning to the physical workplace.
School status: the current shift we are seeing coincided with the end of the school year in most countries, a time when many working parents and caregivers were freed from increased schooling responsibilities. The coming return to school is uncertain, and undoubtedly school decisions will impact parents’ willingness—and even ability—to work in the physical workplace. It is possible that there will be a reverse shift (productivity decline, desire to return to workplace increase) as the school year approaches.
Perceived productivity by both employee and manager: self-reported data must be tempered with additional, objective metrics of productivity. If the company’s results, as measured by sales, profits, customer satisfaction and more, are stable or up, then it is fair to say that remote work is working. However, there are benefits of offices that in time may be impacted at great rates, such as the opportunity to brainstorm, collaborate, and build a sense of unity and culture.
“The desires of employees are changing at a rapid pace, and it is critical employers understand these shifts, and address them in real-time,” continued Dr. Wells. “Perceptyx is seeing this first hand, and we believe these data collected and insights distributed to our clients are making a real difference in work-lives of employees across the globe.”
For more resources, research and insights around COVID-19, please visit: https://go.perceptyx.com/covid-19-response