Report finds only 13% of employees want to return to the office

The findings of a recent survey of more than 3,300 employees could spell the end for the physical office. Results from the Remote Workforce Report, conducted by the Best Practice Institute (BPI), an award-winning leadership development center and think tank, revealed surprising findings about productivity, health and safety fears, management, and how managers and companies might go about enticing employees back to the office.

The survey, conducted between May 12 and May 22, asked employees from companies with workforces from 1000 to more than 10,000 employees to consider whether working remotely impacted their productivity and what specific working conditions would need to be in place for them to feel comfortable returning to the office environment.

Some of the report’s more surprising findings were:

  • Contrary to the popular belief that productivity drops when employees work from home, 76% of respondents felt their personal productivity improved while 72% felt their entire team’s productivity improved by working from home.
  • 77% of employees had some previous experience with working remotely. Of those who had worked remotely pre-COVID-19, a shocking low 10% said they wanted to return to the workplace.
  • Only 44% of manager had previous experience managing employees remotely.
  • 43% of managers who had no previous experience managing a team remotely felt their personal productivity decreased. That number dropped to 23% amongst managers with previous experience managing remote teams.

“There were many findings that stood out including most people who are used to working from home, do not wish to go back to the office,” explains Louis Carter, CEO Best Practice Institute. “The majority of people feel they are more productive when working from home, although there are significant stressors as well as difficulty in maintaining work/life balance. I also concluded that there are many ‘must do’s’ for employers to make employees feel comfortable going back to work including social distancing guidelines, employee health checks, mask usage, plexiglass barriers, changes to the air filtration and HVAC system and more.”

Businesses who are planning for the return of employees should see the results of the report as an opportunity to demonstrate leadership. Those workplaces that manage to best demonstrate the transparent implementation of, and adherence to, strict health and safety measures should find that not only are employees less concerned about returning to the office, but that retention of employees is stable.

Carter explains the opportunity for businesses to take the lead over the competition based on the findings of the Remote Workforce Report. “The implementation of new health and safety guidelines and equipment shouldn’t be seen as a burdensome expenditure or onerous policy. If managed well, these new measures will become a way from employers to retain and recruit employees away from those workplaces who don’t demonstrate health and safety best practices in the office. If properly managed, the new normal in the office could become an employers’ leading edge against the competition.”


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