With the COVID-19 infections not seeming to cease, people, are urged to get back to normal despite the fear and risk. Keeping in mind the risk of potential infection and safety of employee health and wellness, most companies had permitted remote working to the employees.
Despite the initial stressful times where the employees struggled to keep up with their work tasks and manage their home with the children and family around, they seem to have adapted well to the changes. Right from using digital communication tools to meet workplace demands, to taking care of their health and wellness, employees around the world have overcome a tough time.
The fact that they have adapted themselves to the remote working environment has been so influential on the working patterns that most of them do not wish to return to the workplace even in 2021.
In our previous blog, we had written about a CNBC study reporting that employees prefer working from home even after normalcy resumes with the COVID-19 situation.
Similarly, a recent survey was conducted by the Conference Board reported that only a small portion of the American employees will be returning to the workplace, while a majority of them shall continue working remotely. The online survey was conducted on more than 1,100 US employees between September 16th and 25th.
According to the survey reports, by the end of 2020, only 28% of the American employees have already returned, or are expected to return to their workplaces. This clearly indicated that the pandemic has made remote working a more preferred way of working than the traditional working methods at the workplace. Only 17% of the survey respondents said they were very comfortable returning to their workplace.
COVID-19 reports show that the coronavirus is spreading still across the US, and almost 34 states are recording higher infection cases now than a month ago. Although there has been a lot of pressure to invent a vaccine to treat the coronavirus, it may take time to be ready for the public. Even after it is available, the survey showed that only 7% of employees are expected to go back to the workplace.
Experts suggest that in fields where remote working options can be accommodated well, the arrangement to work remotely or hybrid working options may become the new normal. However, if employees are looking to return to the workplace, employers must plan and execute new back-to-workplace strategies to ensure employee health and safety.
With most of the employees working from home, and companies struggling to reopen their brick and mortar offices, the real estate business seems to have taken the downside route. The President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston said that if there is a second wave of the coronavirus, it could badly affect the economy from the real estate sector.
Experts also said that as most things are done online now, employers, retails, and educational institutions may not need a lot of space, which can impact the real estate industry. The real-estate related reports of this study were similar to that of a recent poll conducted by Cisco Systems. According to the Cisco survey, most of the company executives were planning to downsize their workplaces as they were going to continue with the remote working options, even after the pandemic situation calms down.
The Conference Board survey also revealed that of all the respondents, the employees working at lower rank levels were more concerned with returning to the workplace. While 20% of the grassroots level employees said they felt pressure to return to the workplace to save their jobs, 21% of the supervisors or front-line managers felt the same, compared to the meager 4% of the executives.
Almost 29% of the respondents said that they were not sure if their co-workers followed the safety guidelines thoroughly after returning to the workplace to keep the virus infection at bay. Most importantly, around 33% of the survey participants said that they did not feel the need to go back to the workplaces as their productivity remained high even while working remotely.
So, with most employees and employers preferring remote working even after normalcy resumes, it is time to get on to implementing better digital communication tools and other employee benefits like corporate wellness programs to support the same.