COVID-19 lets loose work-from-home preference

COVID-19 lets loose work-from-home preference

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

COVID-19’s work-from-home imperative could be evolving into a work-from-home preference for a growing percentage of office-based staff. Findings from a recent JLL survey reveal that the number employees who want to work from home at least two days a week has doubled from the pre-pandemic period. Nearly two-thirds of respondents who previously worked in the office full-time now want to work at home at least one day a week.

Although fewer than 18 per cent of 1,000 respondents — all based in the United States — judge they have been more productive in home workspaces during the COVID-19 lockdown, a small majority (51 per cent) conclude they are at least 80 per cent as productive as in a formal office setting. A majority also report that they have everything or almost everything they need to function efficiently at home, but about one-third of the surveyed at-home workforce report missing a few or many key resources. Still, that translates into fewer than 4 per cent who self-assess their productivity level at 40 per cent or lower.

Most frequently expressed concerns about returning to the office relate to employees’ potential vulnerability during the commute, sanitation and infection control within the office building, and exposure to other workers. The latter is further split into fears about coworkers in the office when they are ill, and reservations about the proximity of other desks or workstations.

Previously, two-thirds of respondents drove to work in personal vehicles. Of the approximately 270 workers who previously commuted to their offices on public transportation, 29 per cent are now interested in finding an alternative — possibly augmenting the 5 per cent minority who were walking or cycling prior to the pandemic.

Results also suggest that many workers will be happy to be among their colleagues again. Survey respondents report that collaborating with coworkers, socializing and supporting the work of others are what they most miss in the confines of their home workspaces.

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