Nearly Half of Older Workers Hesitant to Return to Work as Pandemic Wanes
WASHINGTON – Nearly half of workers ages 45-64 say they are not in any rush to return to the office in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, a new “Back-to-Normal Barometer” survey has found.
Released Monday, the ongoing survey’s latest findings also indicate that after the prolonged separation from the office most Americans experienced due to the pandemic, a majority of respondents want flexibility in their future work arrangement, with most wanting to divide their time between home and office.
When asked to rate the statement, “I’m ready to return to my place of work full time,” 26% of respondents 45-64 strongly disagreed, while another 16% somewhat disagreed.
That 42% combined disagreement was much higher than for younger age cohorts. In fact, only 33% of those 25-34, and 22% of those 35-44, similarly disagreed.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of workers ages 45-64 agreed with the statement, “I would prefer if my employer allowed office workers who had been working from home to continue working from home full time, once the office re-opens,” 47% strongly agreed and 19% somewhat agreed.
And 55% of those 45-64 strongly agreed, and another 15% somewhat agreed, with the statement, “Once offices reopen, I would be in favor of a policy that allows office workers to split their time working from home and the office.”
“A big mistake employers should avoid is assuming that just because they personally are eager to return to pre-pandemic operations, all their employees are as well. Many of the older ones are not,” warned Rich Thau, president of Engagious, one of the three firms — along with the Sports and Leisure Research Group and ROKK Solutions — that conducted the survey.
While 66% of those 45-64 agreed with the statement, “I would prefer if my employer allowed office workers who had been working from home to continue working from home full time, once the office re-opens,” an even higher percentage of younger workers agreed: 71% of those 25-34, and 72% of those 35-44.
Also, while 70% of those 45-64 agreed that “Once offices reopen, I would be in favor of a policy that allows office workers to split their time working from home and in the office,” 70% of those 25-34, and 77% of those 35-44, similarly agreed.
Part of the explanation for workers’ interest in working from home may be tied to perceptions of productivity.
The Back-to-Normal Barometer asked respondents to evaluate their levels of agreement with this statement: “People working at home have been just as productive as they were when they worked in a physical office.”
It found 72% of workers 45-64 agreed, along with 76% of those 35-44, and 52% of those 25-34.
“Our findings suggest some potential foundational changes to what constitutes the workplace,” said Jon Last, president of the Sports and Leisure Research Group, and a former national president of the Insights Association and Marketing Research Institute International.
“Our research takes an unprecedented review of consumer attitudes of the past compared to today’s environment so that a vast variety of industries can make strategic business decisions to navigate the difficult terrain ahead to get back to normal,” said Ron Bonjean, Partner at ROKK Solutions.
The online survey was conducted in early June and the respondents were a random national sample of 387 employed Americans. The margin of error of the survey is +/-3.87 %.
In The News
President Donald Trump's repeated — and baseless — insistence that widespread fraud undermined this month's presidential election has left a mark on Americans' faith in the voting process, a postelection USC Dornsife survey has found. Using a 0-100 scale to measure their confidence that all ballots were tallied... Read More
As health officials warn of the risks of Thanksgiving travel, more than half of Americans still plan to venture away from home, according to a new survey. The website Tripadvisor says 56% of people intend to take trips for the holiday this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, a... Read More
The global COVID-19 pandemic, with all its devastating consequences, has reaffirmed why science must be at the center of policy considerations, political debate, and media attention. But, lamentably, it is often at the center for all the wrong reasons. Against a backdrop of growing tensions and... Read More
A new survey conducted by ValuePenguin, a data-based personal finance research company, shows that more than a quarter of Americans are getting less sleep and that 1 in 5 are drinking more alcohol as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,000 Americans were surveyed... Read More
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump heads into the final, frenetic 48 hours of campaign 2020 having lost ground among key groups that powered his drive to the presidency four years ago, the final USC Dornsife poll of the election shows. Former Vice President Joe Biden leads Trump by double digits nationally... Read More
The last Marquette Law School poll to be released before Election Day finds former Vice President Joe Biden the choice of 48% of likely voters in Wisconsin, with President Donald Trump trailing with the support of just 43% of likely voters. The poll found 7% of... Read More