The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced companies worldwide to change their daily operations from office to work-from-home arrangements, and although for many it was a new situation, a majority of U.S. employees prefer the routine to remain in place.
In a new survey from getAbstract, 43 percent of respondents said that going forward, they want to work remotely more often. Since the pandemic posed serious threats to health and safety in the workplace, companies had little choice but to allow employees to work from home and find creative ways to adjust to digital migration.
“This survey shows that even with the added stress of coronavirus and helping kids with schooling from home, nearly half want to work from home more often after this,” Andrew Savikas told FOX Business. “And it seems businesses feel the same, with so many in active discussions or making announcements about flexible work in the future.”
Now, more Americans are working from home than ever before. By early April 2020, nearly half of Americans shifted to working from home, up 3.4 percent in 2019, according to Flexjobs.
The survey also found that working from home has gained popularity among employees because of the lack of commute, better schedule flexibility and increased work productivity. Some preferred the new arrangement because it gave them more leeway to pursue extracurricular hobbies, and allowed them to spend more time with friends and loved ones.
“Working from home is a great way to reduce stress,” Savikas, chief strategy officer at getAbstract, told FOX Business. “This is especially evident right now as the coronavirus crisis has many people experiencing increased anxiety. Lots of us already juggle competing priorities at home, like caring for children, and working from home can relieve some of that stress.”
When asked about setbacks of working remotely, more than a quarter of survey respondents mentioned feelings of isolation as a concern. Other drawbacks included imperfect telecommuting technologies to a fear of becoming detached from their company and co-workers. Those who preferred their former schedule said there was a need for a work-home balance.
Whether or not employers respond to the shifting attitudes of workers remains the decisive factor in the longevity of telecommuting. Thirty-one percent of respondents said that their company does not have a flexible policy and doubt it will change. On the contrary, 20 percent said implementing such a policy is currently under active discussion at their company, while another 26 percent expressed an optimistic outlook on greater worker flexibility in the future.
A majority of respondents said they were not concerned about virus-related health and safety concerns when they go back to the office. In fact, only 25 percent said they did not feel safe returning to the office after the pandemic.