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The Pandemic Has Permanently Changed the Way We Work

A report finds that the coronavirus-caused shift to remote work has altered the idea of a workspace. Some are uncomfortable with returning to an office and many hope to continue working from home even after offices reopen.

Connections to people, servers and ideas via a laptop.
(Shutterstock / elenabsl)
(Shutterstock / elenabsl)
During this pandemic, nearly every state ordered residents to "Stay at Home" and encouraged all workers who could to work from home. This has created a fundamental shift in how Americans are viewing the way they work, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by Morning Consult, a global data intelligence company, had four key findings, all of which suggest that working remotely may continue well after the pandemic is under control.

The report surveyed approximately 1,500 U.S. adults, both current remote workers as well as adults who were able to work remotely either now or in a future role. Nearly 70 percent of workers reported that they had had significant changes in their daily routines because of working from home, but overall were pleased with the changes.

The survey found that, for most Americans, the benefits of working remotely outweigh the disadvantages, citing mainly increased time and comfort when working from home. These benefits caused three-quarters of adults to say that they would like to work from home at least once or twice weekly, even after the pandemic has subsided.

Zoe Manzanetti


The pandemic has shifted the way that workers perceive remote work. (Morning Consult)

However, returning to an office presents its own issues. While daily office cleanings and sanitations would increase the comfort of working in an office for 80 percent of workers, almost one-third of U.S. adults reported that they would not feel comfortable returning to their office space before a COVID-19 vaccine was available. Half reported that they would be either "somewhat" or "very uncomfortable" with returning to work next week.

Zoe Manzanetti

Workers have varying levels of comfort when it comes to returning to an office space. (Morning Consult)

But working remotely is not something that everyone enjoys or benefits from. Almost three-quarters of workers acknowledge that working remotely has negatively impacted their lives by blurring the differentiation between work and personal life, and almost half reported an increase in feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Working remotely can also decrease an employee’s productivity; 32 percent of adults disagreed that they were more productive while working from home and 31 percent believe that virtual meetings are less effective than those in-person. More than half of workers have also experienced technology issues, both major and minor.

Morning Consult’s report provides valuable insights as to what the future of work might entail. Companies will need to ensure that they do not alienate their workers by using a one-size-fits-all approach because there are still workers who prefer or must work in an office space to adequately perform their duties.

Zoe is the digital editor for Governing.
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