Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, only about 25 percent of the workforce worked from home at least some of the time, and just 14.5 percent worked exclusively from home all week. However, the social distancing restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus crisis forced businesses across the U.S. to operate from home while their buildings remained closed. Now, as the pandemic starts to gradually decline, Americans must consider what lasting impacts it may have on the workplace. Almost 60 percent of Americans think COVID-19 has actually changed the way we work for the better, according to a recent nationally representative WalletHub survey.
WalletHub’s survey examined Americans’ thoughts about working from home during the coronavirus pandemic and a potential return to an office, including how being at home has affected productivity and what people miss most about the office. Below are highlights from the survey, along with commentary from a panel of experts and a description of our methodology.
- Harsh penalties for not returning to the workplace. A third of Americans believe that businesses should fire employees who refuse to go back to work.
- Parents’ work efficiency may suffer at home. Around 50 percent of parents with young children at home don’t think they are more productive working from home.
- Working from home seen as the future. Almost a third of Americans think that physical offices are a thing of the past.
- Positive changes to the work environment. Almost 60 percent of Americans think COVID-19 has changed the way we work for the better.
Ask the Experts
Americans have differing views on working from home and how prominent that will be in the future. To provide more insight, WalletHub turned to a panel of experts. Click on the pictures of the experts below to see their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- Are the nearly 1 in 3 Americans who think physical offices are a thing of the past correct?
- Can businesses fire employees who refuse to go back to work during/after the pandemic? Should they be able to?
- Almost 60% of Americans think that COVID-19 has changed the way we work for the better; are they right, and can we expect that sentiment to last?
- Do you have any advice for the 50% of parents who say they are less productive working from home?
Ask the Experts
This report reflects the results of a nationally representative online survey of over 300 respondents.
After we collected all responses, we normalized the data by age, gender and income so the sample would reflect U.S. demographics.
Full Details Overall
|Do you believe that businesses should be held responsible for employees getting sick?|
|Do you believe that businesses should fire employees who refuse to go back to work?|
|Are physical offices a thing of the past?|
|What do you miss most about working in an office?|
|Getting out of the house||21%|
|Do you think that COVID-19 has changed the way Americans work for better or for worse?|
|If you don’t need to live close to an office anymore, how will you choose where to live?|
|Size of house||13%|
|Do you think you are more productive working from home?|
|Do you think your co-workers are more productive working from home?|
|Do you think people who go back to working in an office should be paid more?|
Note: Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.