75% of tech workers ready for the office to reopen, but 63% still want a WFH option

More than half of tech industry employees expect companies to mandate wearing gloves and masks in the office when they return to the workplace, according to a Glassdoor survey.

COVID-19-driven work-from-home burnout is real

Tech workers are ready to be back in the office, according to a new Glassdoor survey of US adults. One reason 75% of respondents working from home are comfortable returning is probably linked to another survey question about trust. Eighty percent of respondents said they trust their company's senior leaders to make an informed decision about when to re-open their offices during the coronavirus epidemic.

Even though tech workers are ready to see their colleagues in person again, they still want the option to work from home. Sixty-three percent of respondents would work from home full-time after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, and 62% would be more likely to apply to a position that is entirely remote when looking for a new job.

SEE: Life after lockdown: Your office job will never be the same--here's what to expect (cover story PDF) (TechRepublic)

Half of the respondents expect to be back at their office desks by summer, even if that means a different schedule from pre-COVID-19 days. The same amount of respondents gave these reasons for wanting to stop working from home:

  • Increased productivity--52%
  • Better work-life balance--51% 

When offices reopen to a new normal, employees expect these changes:

  • Free disinfectant and hand sanitizer--72%
  • A mandate to wear masks and/or gloves--58% 
  • More space between workstations--42%  
  • Temperature checks upon arrival--35% 

Glassdoor Chief People Officer Carina Cortez said in a press release that each employer will have to devise a reopening plan that fits business requirements, employee needs, and coronavirus conditions in each location.

"While many workers are eager to return to the office, employers considering reopening offices should clearly communicate that the workplace is going to look very different, and keep employees informed on what that means for them," she said in a press release.

ServiceNow's CIO Chris Bedi said employers need to ensure the workplace is safe and that employees feel safe coming back to the office, which are two different things.

ServiceNow is using apps to manage everything from employee readiness surveys, health screenings, workplace safety, and managing global levels of PPE. Bedi said he anticipates biometrics being integrated into the employee health screening app. The workplace safety app will help facilities managers figure out where people should park and when cleaning crews should come in based on the flow of employees, he said.

SEE: COVID-19: A guide and checklist for restarting your business (TechRepublic Premium)

Most likely, there will no longer be large meetings with people huddled together for a long time to come, Bedi added. 

Executives also need to think through how people will get to the office, whether they can commute safely, and will they have to deal with elevators--and if so, how to maintain a six-foot distance, ServiceNow's Chief Talent Officer Pat Wadors said.

"Managers have to listen to [their employees] and adapt and not apply old schedules to the new world,'' she said,

The Glassdoor survey was conducted online within the US from April 29 – May 1, 2020, among 1,188 US employed adults ages 18 and older, 472 of whom are exclusively working from home due to COVID-19. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. 

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