Survey: Most US employees are uncomfortable returning to the workplace as restrictions ease

Qualtrics surveyed more than 2,000 employed Americans about how confident they felt returning to office-based work and visiting public establishments.

Qualtrics, a firm that helps companies manage employee experience, has published the results of its Return to Work & Back to Business Study which found that the majority of US workers are still not ready to the workplace amidst the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. 

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The company, which was acquired by SAP to meld experience management with operational data, surveyed more than 2,000 employed Americans about how confident they felt returning to office-based work and visiting public establishments. The survey found that two out of three people (66%) are not comfortable going back to the workplace in the current environment. 

Meanwhile, most employees would prefer if plans to ease lockdown restrictions and work from home orders were based on assurances from public health officials like the Centers for Disease Control (63%) or the World Health Organization (45%). 

Nearly half of employees (48%) do not expect to return to work until August or later.

"While most organizations are looking at facts like hospitalization and testing rates as they reopen workplaces and businesses, it is equally important to understand perceptions—how people feel," said Mike Maughan, head of global insights, Qualtrics. "Our study found that most Americans still feel uncomfortable returning to public spaces. Organizations will need to know what actions they can take to help customers and employees feel confident during this next phase of the pandemic."

Additional findings from the Qualtrics survey:

  • 64% want to be able to wear a mask at work
  • 61% want to maintain social distancing
  • 50% say they want more flexible sick-leave policies
  • 49% want to be able to limit the number of people they're exposed to in workplace meetings
  • 43% want their temperatures checked before entering the building

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