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VOL. 45 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 6, 2021

Survey: Employees concerned about returning to work

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Just when we thought we were out of the woods, the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving. Every day brings news of variants. We’re crossing our fingers, hoping that a full shutdown doesn’t happen again.

In the meantime, businesses are trying to figure out how to get back to normal. And, employees are offering their thoughts.

A recent Glassdoor.com survey focusing on employee attitudes about going back to the office during a pandemic found that 96% plan to return to the office in some capacity, while 66% are eager to go.

About 27% of employees said they felt less connected to their co-workers, and 26% said they felt less connected to their company’s culture.

Employees also said working from home might impact their future career path, while 30% said they are worried working from home long term could impact their ability to get a promotion.

Still, 89% of employees surveyed said they have concerns about returning to the office.

In particular, 35% said they are concerned about contracting COVID-19 if they go back in person, while 70% said employees should be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to work.

And, 23% said they would consider quitting if they were required to return to the office before all employees were vaccinated.

Additionally, 17% said they would consider quitting their job if they were required to go back to the office five days a week, regardless of COVID or the vaccine.

It’s hard to believe we’re still having to think about the pandemic and this new world of work. By now, we assumed things would have been back to normal.

When you think about the results shared, it would be interesting to talk to these employees in more detail. It’s unfortunate that 27% of people felt less connected to co-workers. But, how did the other 73% feel? It would also be interesting to know how many people felt disconnected from their company when we were still at work in person.

One thing we’ve learned is that not all work is really work. Work can be talk around the watercooler. It’s lunches together. It’s relationship building.

The question I keep wondering is this: Will work evolve along with work from home? Will we find ways to connect around a virtual watercooler? We’ve been doing this for almost a year and a half.

It’s interesting that 17% of people said they would consider quitting if they have to go back in person – regardless of COVID. This shows a shift in work culture. It sounds irresponsible at first, but employees have this opinion because remote work is now offered by more companies.

How do the Glassdoor findings compare to your opinions of returning to the workplace?

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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