CHICAGO (CBS) — The coronavirus pandemic sent millions of Americans to work from home about a year ago, and a recent survey said many professionals benefited and don’t want the work-from-home lifestyle to end.
The survey from Harvard Business School online showed any professionals experienced advancement and growth – on the job as well as at home – since they began working from home last year.READ MORE: MISSING: Kianna Smith, 19, Last Seen April 6
“The past year has been difficult for everyone, but what’s surprising is how well people feel they’ve performed at work, while at home,” HBS Online Executive Director Patrick Mullane said in a news release. “Now, as we’re preparing to get back to ‘business as usual,’ it seems professionals don’t want ‘business as usual.’ Instead, they want flexibility from their employers to allow them to maintain the new work/home balance and productivity they have come to enjoy.”
HBS Online brought in Massachusetts-based market research firm City Square Associates to survey nearly 1,500 professionals who worked from home during the pandemic from March 2020 to March 2021. The respondents were asked to compare the past year to the one before.
“Many of us have Zoom fatigue,” HBS Online’s Managing Director of Product Management Simeen Mohsen said in the release. “Yet, despite not being in the office, many professionals still performed well and were even able to grow in their careers. They somehow rose to the occasion and gave it their all, both as individuals and as teams.”
The survey found that 81 percent of respondents either do not want to go back to the office at all, or would prefer a hybrid schedule. A total of 61 percent would like to work two to three days from home, 27 percent want to work remotely full time, and 18 percent want to go back to the office full time.READ MORE: Electrical Fire At O'Hare International Airport Closes Pedestrian Tunnel
Parents with children at home want to go back to full time work more than those without children, and married people want to go back to work full time more than singles, the survey said.
As to conditions for going back, the survey said 51 percent of respondents are uncomfortable returning until they are fully vaccinated, and 71 percent until everybody is fully vaccinated. The survey also found 54 percent expect social distancing – with everyone at least six feet apart and required to wear masks, though it was not clear from released materials whether they expected this to be permanent.
Some people were able to develop good habits at home. The survey found 35 percent read more for professional growth and 59 percent made their health a priority. But on the other hand, 34 percent felt professionally burned out and one in three people drank more in the past year.
Despite all this, there is new interest in getting Chicagoans back into their workplace buildings – as CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported last week.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Update: Indiana Reports 1,263 New Cases, 5 Additional Deaths
A survey of chief executive officers from KPMG said last August, 69 percent said they would downsize their company’s physical space. When asked this spring, it was down to just 17 percent.