Surveys Shed Light on Employees' and Employers' Opinions on Post-Pandemic Work Arrangements

Author: Robert S. Teachout, Brightmine Legal Editor

May 14, 2021

Employers' and employees' opinions generally align on what post-pandemic work arrangements should look like, according to two recent surveys. One survey polled 2,000 full-time employees, while the other polled 55 HR leaders and key return-to-workplace decisionmakers across a variety of industries.

The Pulse of the American Worker Survey, released by Prudential, found that employees expect pandemic workplace adaptations, such as allowing remote work and granting greater flexibility, to continue after public health restrictions are lifted. Employees say they are willing to look for other opportunities if that is not the case.

According to the survey, 68% of all workers say a hybrid workplace model, in which employees work remotely one or more days per week and the other days at the workplace, is ideal. That increased to 87% for employees who have been working remotely during the pandemic.

At the same time, 42% of employees who currently work remotely responded that if their current company does not continue to offer remote work options long-term, they will look for work with a company that does. This possibility, combined with the finding that 26% of all employees reported that they plan to look for a new job when the pandemic threat decreases, means employers could be facing a difficult time finding workers.

On the employer side, Reset Work's Survey of Return-to-Office Decision Makers indicates that only a small number of businesses plan to resume in-office operations with a traditional Monday-to-Friday work arrangement. Of the companies that have committed to a return-to-office plan:

  • 63% reported that they will adopt a hybrid work model;
  • 4% are committed to no remote work; and
  • 27% are undecided.

Of those planning for a hybrid work arrangement, 44% expect their workers to be at the workplace on average for three days each week, with 27% expecting on-site work for two days per week. Of the businesses planning a return to the office, 19% expect to return by the end of the second quarter of this year, and 40% expect to be back by the end of September.