COVID-19 Update

Here’s What American Workers Think About Returning to the Office After the Pandemic

weBoost asked more than 1,200 American workers what they think about going back to the office and how often they want to do it.

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Here’s What American Workers Think About Returning to the Office After the Pandemic

Now that 41 percent of Americans (and counting) are fully vaccinated (including yours truly), more people are venturing out of the safety of their homes to resume the lives they left behind to keep themselves and their families safe in the spring of 2020.

A big question on everyone’s mind as we do that, though, is what it’ll look like when we return to the office, either five days a week or even once or twice—for now—after more than a year or working remotely.

With all the uncertainty surrounding work in a post-pandemic world, weBoost asked more than 1,200 Americans what they think about returning to work. The results show “Americans now feel safe going back to the office, but the work-from-home option is here to stay.”

Related: Our Deep Dive on Remote Work Technology Trends

The weBoost survey shows 81% of respondents feel safe returning to the office, with 44% saying they feel safe returning whether they’ve been vaccinated or not.

And, while many business owners and leaders are ready to bring their employees back to the office either full- or part-time, they clearly must put employee health and well-being first while also keeping business interests in mind.

About one-third of respondents to the weBoost survey say they are already back in the office full-time, while another 30% said they are preparing to be back in the office in the first half of 2021. About one-third of respondents said their employer had not set any definitive return.

More About weBoost Return-to-Work Survey

Regardless of when or how often American workers return to the office, one thing that has become a permanent fixture in corporate America is a work-from-home option for most employees. While the policies will differ from company to company and industry to industry, WFH is here to stay for good.

“The pandemic forced many of us into our homes, which prompted employers to provide greater flexibility in remote work,” the weBoost survey results say. “After a year of working remotely, businesses are figuring out what makes their company run best.”

The survey shows about half (47%) of respondents will consider leaving their jobs if they have no choice in home vs. office work and 55% prefer to work remotely at least part of each week. It’s rewarding to see that 40% of workplaces will continue operating remotely part of the week and interesting to note that 9% are not planning to return to the office at all, operating only remotely.

That means employers have realized their employees can be trusted to be at least as productive, if not moreso, while working from home as they are while working in the office. That’s a phenomenon that simply didn’t exist in most places before the coronavirus pandemic began its sweep across the world.

“Now that we know remote work is here to stay, connectivity is more important than ever,” the weBoost survey results say. “Employees need to stay connected to the office and their co-workers to maintain productivity.

“Cell phones and cellular connectivity will continue to play a key role in maintaining an effective work-from-home policy,” according to the findings.

These days, more than half (52%) of survey respondents are using cell phones to make a majority of work calls and almost two-thirds (64%) plan to continue using their cell phones for work even after returning to the office.

So, while a lot has changed in the year-plus that most employees spent balancing their work and home lives in one building—and, in some cases, one room—the changes bode well for AV integrators and their ability to meet the needs of business leaders who are now nudging their workers back into the office.