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Survey Takeaways: Small Shifts. Remote Hopes. Home Appeal.

COVID-19 Weekly Culture Pulse Survey: May 18–22, 2020

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Our weekly culture pulse survey tracks how the 2020 pandemic is impacting workplace culture and the employee experience. Use this knowledge to act with confidence and inspire your people to get through this together.


Small Shifts: Week-Over-Week Measures Continue to Stabilise.

For a second week in a row (and the fourth out of the last five), employee sentiments and organisational responses to COVID-19 remain largely consistent. Our latest survey—involving 1,189 workers across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.—shows layoffs, furloughs, and pay and benefit reductions are holding steady with no meaningful changes.

A few exceptions on the employee side include:

4.6% increase in engagement

4.3% decrease in sense of isolation

4.2% decrease in self-reported productivity

And while communication about COVID-19 in the workplace didn’t move from last week, interestingly, 6.2% more respondents feel they’re at greater risk for the disease. This could be due to a 12% jump in organisations re-opening retail and public operations or a 10.3% increase in those bringing remote workers back to the workplace.


Remote Hopes: Employees Get Specific about Working Out of Office, Post-Crisis.

For well over a month, we’ve seen respondents who enjoy working from home anticipate some remote flexibility will continue after the world gets a vaccine. Many believe the big forced experiment has been a success, proving productivity doesn’t require a cubicle. But now we’re getting a clearer picture of what they have in mind.

When asked to think about the future at work—“how many days per week do you hope (or expect) to work from home?”—nearly 60% say at least two and 19% say all five. Only a third of respondents either hope or expect to completely return to the office.

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Speaking of which, 79% of all workers believe it’s still too soon to bring remotes back (5% more than last week). The biggest reason: fear of creating a second wave of COVID-19.


Home Appeal: Remote Work Feels Increasingly Good to Many.

Most discussions, evaluations, and negotiations related to working from home generally focus on how productive it is for the employee. We believe the subject is more nuanced. So we asked employees some new questions to gauge their perceptions after nearly nine weeks of domestic heat and pressure. Two key findings:

•Nearly three-fourths (72.4%) of respondents say working from home has changed how they feel about remote work.

• And when asked to describe that feeling in a word or phrase, most were generally positive. Although “anxiety,” “fear,” and “isolation” did make an appearance.

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For more insights from the O.C. Tanner Institute, check out our previous COVID-19 pulse surveys. And check in next week for new ones.

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