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We asked how you felt about returning to work. Here’s what you had to say.

‘I’ve processed more resignations in the last two months, now that we’ve tried to get people into the office.’

Will working IRL again be your reality soon? (Or are you already doing it?)
Will working IRL again be your reality soon? (Or are you already doing it?) (Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels)

We know it and you know it, too: The pandemic messed with a LOT of people’s jobs.

Some workers lost their employment, some found new jobs, some started working from home (and some never stopped), some did a little bit of remote work and in-office projects -- you name a working scenario, and it was probably someone’s reality over the past year or so.

And now, more and more, we’re hearing that people have to go back, or for many, the job environment is shifting once again. Maybe you returned months ago, or perhaps in-person plans are on hold due to the variants we’re now seeing of COVID-19.

(By the way, if you still want to fill out our survey, you can find it here. We’d love to hear from you).

In the meantime, we’re going to start compiling results, as seen below, and we will update these numbers and responses as they grow.

Here’s a look at some of the data and your words, thus far.


First question: ‘Did your work location change, due to the pandemic?’

Survey said:

About 71% of you answered that yes, you started working from home once COVID-19 started spreading in the U.S. Eleven percent said you started some kind of a hybrid work situation, logging your time partially in a remote sense and going to a job in person other instances.

Only 9% of you said you had to report for work in a physical sense throughout the pandemic. And several of you mentioned losing your jobs entirely due to the COVID situation.

Next up: ‘Now that vaccines are readily available, are you being asked to return to an in-person work environment?’

*(We first released this survey in July, so, before we knew there’d be a vaccine requirement).

Survey said:

About 40% of you said work will remain hybrid, meaning a combination of in-person and remote work.

Nearly 31% of you said you would have to go back.

In the smallest percentages, just 7% answered that you’d been back for a while now, and an even smaller group reported that they work from home regardless of the pandemic.

We asked: ‘If you have to go back in, how are you feeling about it, on a scale of 1 to 10?’

Survey said:

The biggest number -- 47 of you -- said you’d rank your feelings at a 1 (the lowest score possible). On the opposite end of the spectrum, 15 of you ranked yourselves a 10.

The rest of the answers were all over the board. So far, we have 145 people who’ve completed the survey.

And then: ‘If you’re glad to go back, why?’

Survey said:

More than 52% of you said you like the separation of home and work.

About 27% of respondents said you missed your coworkers and the office environment.

On the flip side, ‘If you’re sad about having to go back, why?’

Survey said:

Nearly 51% of you said that you like skipping out on the commute and having to put on real work clothes.

More than 29% said they feel more productive at home.

And finally, ‘When you think about concern over the idea of in-person work, are you concerned about COVID-19, or the other factors? (Childcare, lifestyle changes, etc.)’

Survey said:

More than 50% answered that they’re concerned about COVID.

More than 31% said they’re not concerned.


Open comments

This was a spot where we asked to hear from you, in your own words. Some of these have been edited for clarity, brevity and/or grammar. Here’s how you sounded off, regarding all things work and the pandemic:

  • “At my old job, pre-COVID (or as the pandemic was just starting), a coworker was upset the country was shutting down. She said COVID was the flu, and play-coughed on me, then rubbed her hands across my keyboard. She had zero regard for those immediately around her, therefore, causing an unsafe work environment. I fear those types of people more than I do COVID.”
  • “Working at home is the best, and companies need to change. It’s overdue.”
  • “When it came down to it, I ended up quitting my job. I wasn’t looking forward to going back into the office full-time, and my company kept pushing for it. They were not even open to continuing our hybrid model, which we all proved as employees was effective. I was able to find a work-from-home job, which has allowed me much more flexibility, time with my kids, and no commute. These are all huge factors for a working mom. I wish more companies would realize this.”
  • “Even though we’re back to the office two days a week, people are still on Teams calls or Zoom calls all the time. So I ask myself: What’s the point?”
  • “Executives need to realize people love working from home -- and we have proven it is possible. Companies that embrace this fact and offer remote working will have the upper hand in the future.”
  • “I’ve processed more resignations in the last two months, now that we’ve tried to get people into the office. Senior management wants bodies in the office despite good remote performance. People are opting to quit and find a remote job.”
  • “Everyone from my office wants to continue working from home, so now we are being forced into an environment where no one wants to be. It doesn’t sound like it will be good for anyone’s mental health. We are already experiencing burnout. Companies just don’t seem to care.”
  • “I feel my entire family benefitted from working at home. My child did not have to go to an after-school program and we had more time to spend together after we all had clocked off from work or school. The lack of a commute gave us more time to concentrate on each other and enjoy being together. I will miss this more than anything, and it’s sad that we are not encouraging a better work-life/home-life balance, as I would imagine happy and mentally healthy workers would work better.”
  • “I am pro-hybrid. If a person is feeling unwell, stay home. If the weather causes a dangerous commute, stay home. If a person has a way and means to work from home, stay home.”
  • “I still don’t feel 100% comfortable going in with a child at home who isn’t old enough to be vaccinated. Also, now I know that my job can be done from home, so there doesn’t seem to be a point. Why should we go in?”
  • “Getting ready and driving take up nearly two hours of my day. It’s wasted time. I was able to take care of myself and my family while working from home. Now I feel stress and strain on my overall mental health trying to figure out how to make everything happen. It feels pointless to drive to an office and work in an office just because we’re renting space.”

The data is based on 145 completed surveys, and was last examined Sept. 15. All answers are anonymous. We’ll update this report as we see more responses. Thank you to everyone who contributed.


About the Author:

Michelle is the Managing Editor of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which writes for all of the company's news websites.