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The future of work is hybrid: Work from home and the workplace – ZDNet

Salesforce surveyed over 3,500 consumers worldwide to gain a pulse check on how workers view the prospect of returning to the next normal. Every two weeks, Salesforce Research is surveying the general population to discover how consumers and the workforce are navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses, governments, and cities are all in different phases of reopening, they are all in a constant state of evaluating what’s safe, what’s not, and what the next weeks, months, and years will look like. 

Click here to explore Tableau data across demographics and geographies. Below are some key takeaways from respondents from around the globe. Here’s an overview of the survey:

  • The top concerns five concerns are: Long-term/short-term financial situation, job security, physical health, and mental health. 
  • Long-term, 64% of workers want to spend at least some hours at an office, store, factory, or another type of workplace, as opposed to working entirely remotely.
  • Forty-three percent of workers say they’ve been given clear communication on a reopening plan.
  • Fifty-two percent of workers overall — and 59% of millennial workers — say they’re comfortable sharing personal information like health data and contacts to keep the workplace safe.
  • Seventy percent of urban workers still prefer to work in cities versus a suburb.

The hybrid work model 

Generation Z will soon become the largest segment of the workforce and they are interested in a hybrid approach to work — time split between home and workplace. Seventy-four percent of Gen-Z would prefer either working from home or splitting time at home and work. Thirty-seven percent of the survey respondents would like to continue to work full-time from home even after the pandemic. Sixty-four percent of the respondents would like to spend ‘some time’ working from an office or location outside of their homes. Just 32% of workers think that their employers will reduce or eliminate real-estate footprint. 

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Reopening plans vary due to pandemic and lack of standard guidelines 

Only 45% of respondents believe their employers are ready to reopen their workplaces. Forty-three percent of workers have clear communication on a reopening plan. Reopening readiness varies by industry. The best industries with respect to clear communications and a readiness plan are: 1. financial services, 2. manufacturing, 3. consumer goods, 4. retail, and 5. nonprofits. In healthcare, for example, only 48% of respondents said they have received clear communications regarding a reopening plan. 

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Employees want to enhance cleaning, health monitoring and reduced capacity for a safe reopening

Enhanced cleaning and reduced capacity are pillars of any reopening strategy, according to our respondents. Office workers put particular emphasis on contact tracing, whereas factory and retail workers are partial to daily wellness checks.

Regarding contact tracing, 52% of workers say they’re comfortable sharing personal information like health data and contacts to keep the workplace safe. Millennials are the most willing (59%) whereas baby boomers are the least willing (40%).

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Seventy percent of Gen Z workers and 68% of millennial workers, for example, are at least moderately concerned about their family or personal circumstances when returning to work, compared to 35% of baby boomers. 

Commute to work is a safety concern for workers

There are concerns regarding commuting to work. The survey suggests that the share of commuters using mass transit commutes will fall 29% — from 24% of commuters to 17% — when they return to their workplaces.  The share of single-car commuters is expected to rise from 60% to 61% — hardly accounting for the predicted decline in transit ridership. Commuters also have plans to increase their use of carpools or ride-shares, scooters, and motorcycles, and walking.

Sixty-seven percent of the workforce is at least moderately concerned about commuting when they return to work during the pandemic — 81% among those who previously commuted by public transit. Workers using transit agencies expect increased frequency, enhanced cleaning, increased capacity, freehand sanitizers, and required masks. 

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Working in the city remains a preference 

Seventy percent of respondents that work in a city say they still prefer an urban work environment over those in suburban areas,.

Seventy-four percent that live in cities still cite them as their preferred place of residence, especially for millennial and Gen Z workers. Forty percent of city dwellers say city living has lost its appeal, but there’s a limit to their loyalty. 

Among those who work in a city, Forty-nine percent say working in a city isn’t worthwhile without amenities — restaurants for example. Fifty-one percent of the workforce citing the increased proximity between their homes and workplaces suggests a new distribution model for workers that will extend to suburban areas. 

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Work from home — aka WFH — should give employees their autonomy, not extend the company’s authority into their private space. It should also allow the company to discontinue the use of the word “remote.” Let’s re-brand WFH to “Working From Here.” This survey suggests that the future workplace will be hybrid model of home, office, or here. Perhaps the biggest lesson of 2020 for businesses is that for some, work is not a place. Work is an outcome. 

To learn more about working from home experience and the survey, you can visit here

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