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Hesitant Return

Even when they are cleared to do so, many professionals say they will not be going back to the office, with half saying they are afraid to return. That is according to a new Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY) survey of professionals.

Fewer than a third (32 percent) say it is highly likely that they will return to their office when it re-opens. Half (50 percent) say they are fearful of going back due to health concerns, even though 75 percent say they believe their employer will create a safe and healthy work environment for them.

Forty percent of respondents say their employer will not make it mandatory that they return to the office.

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While half (50 percent) say camaraderie with colleagues is what they are most looking forward to upon returning to the office, 1 in 5 (20 percent) say there is nothing that they are looking forward to about being back in the office.

According to the survey, nearly two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) say they are more productive when they work from home than from the office, even with distractions such as having children or a spouse at home with them.

The vast majority (92 percent) believe there will be fewer in-person meetings post Covid-19 crisis, and 87 percent say they will be more productive as a result of less time in meetings.

“From fewer business trips to more online meetings and enhanced health and safety precautions at the office, the way we work will see a dramatic change as the nation slowly reopens,” said Bryan Ackermann, Korn Ferry global leader, Assessment and Succession, Leadership and Professional Development. “Organizational leaders must realize these changes may be difficult for employees and offer empathy, understanding and patience.”

About the Survey – The Korn Ferry survey took place in early June 2020 and includes 1,044 responses from professionals.

When your employer re-opens offices, how likely is it that you will go back to the office?

Highly likely                                                                             32 percent

Somewhat likely                                                                      38 percent

Not likely                                                                                 30 percent

Are you afraid to go back to the office when it re-opens due to health concerns?

Yes                                                                                          50 percent

No                                                                                           50 percent

How confident are you that your employer will create a safe/healthy workspace for you when you return to the office?

Very confident                                                                         38 percent

Somewhat confident                                                               37 percent

Somewhat unconfident                                                           13 percent

Not at all confident                                                                  12 percent

Will your employer make it mandatory for you to go back to the office when it opens back up?

Yes, every day                                                                        14 percent

Yes, but not every day                                                            46 percent

No, going to the office will not be mandatory                         40 percent

Do you think that post COVID-19 there will be more or fewer in-person meetings?

More meetings                                                                        8 percent

Fewer meetings                                                                      92 percent

If you think there will be fewer in-person meetings post COVID-19, how do you think that will impact productivity?

I will be much more productive                                               39 percent

I will be somewhat more productive                                       48 percent

I will be somewhat less productive                                         10 percent

I will be much less productive                                                3 percent

Are you more productive working from home (even if there are distractions such as a spouse or children) or from the office?

Home                                                                                      64 percent

Office                                                                                      36 percent

What are you most looking forward to when you return to the office?

Having a dedicated work/office space                                   19 percent

Camaraderie with colleagues                                                 50 percent

In-person, face-to-face meetings with my manager              6 percent

Dressing professionally                                                          5 percent

Nothing                                                                                    20 percent

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