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Even with states now reopened and many employees having the option of continuing to work from home, a new poll finds that a majority (56%) of respondents are open to a mix of WFH and returning to the office.

The June poll of 1,613 US respondents by career site Monster found that employees believe they will face challenges as they work from home more often. Specifically, respondents cited collaboration (34%) and productivity challenges just behind at 30%.

Not surprisingly, the biggest concerns employees expressed about returning to the office are maintaining social distance at work (59%), to workplace cleanliness (23%), using mass transit (13%), and riding in an elevator (5%).

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“Although we adapted to working from home and relied on technology to work, essentially we are social creatures,” said Monster career expert Vicki Salemi, of the findings. “Although yes, we can learn new technology to boost our productivity and continue working as efficiently as possible given the circumstances, the lack of human touch and contact will be a hurdle to overcome in the new normal, as evidenced by collaboration being a big concern and also figuring out how to safely social distance while also working together.”

Considering the majority of respondent employees are open to a mix of both working from home and returning to the office with strict office guidelines, Salemi said it is likely we will see a hybrid approach in the future with employers offering options to work in the office or continue working from home or a combination of both, while juggling schedules to ensure social distancing guidelines in the office are adhered to.

As much as people want to continue working closely together and collaborating, there are lingering concerns we are concerned about how to properly do this with safety top of mind, Salemi noted. A poll Monster conducted in May revealed that although offices may reopen, the majority of workers (60%) said they did not want to conduct meetings in person.

“This will significantly impact how employers bring people back to work and how they evaluate how teams are effectively working,” she said.

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Employment trends

Other Monster data from June shows that healthcare jobs are showing strong vital signs. Healthcare-related new job postings show signs of getting back to normal with an uptick in registered nurse jobs and medical and health services managers hitting pre-COVID levels of job postings, according to the career site. Opticians, optometrists, physician assistants, and phlebotomists have all seen an increase in new job postings—surpassing pre-COVID levels, the company said.

Additional Monster data from June also shows job seekers are focusing on business continuity versus “essential” services. For example, candidates searching for “warehouse worker” positions have dropped drastically, falling out of the top five keywords searched after entering in mid-April, the company said.

In contrast, “administrative assistant” increased in searches four weeks in a row, getting back on par with pre-COVID search rates, Monster said. Searches for the term “work from home” increased and it remains in the top three most searched keywords on Monster, as WFH becomes standard operating procedure for many businesses as they reopen, the job site said.

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Back to business

More candidates are seeking business operations positions than healthcare roles, according to Monster. Administrative, accounting, human resources, and receptionist all outranked healthcare and nursing job searches in June, the company said.

Similarly, business and financial operations job postings are on an uptick with finance managers and loan officers showing big increases.

Managers appear to lead the charge for the return to work, Monster noted. Manager positions are on the rise as more companies reopen for business and play catch-up after many were put on hold over the past few months.

In recent weeks, construction manager roles increased followed by a demand for construction laborers, as newly hired managers start the process of building their teams, the job site said. Similar activities have occurred in the food service industry with an uptick in line cook, bartender, dishwasher, host/hostess roles.