March 26, 2020

New survey: COVID-19 and employee sentiment on the changing workforce

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way we work and for many employees, transitioning to remote work can be difficult. Glassdoor released results from a survey conducted by Harris Poll on how employees are feeling about their employers’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the way we live and work. However, according to U.S. adults, the impact may be deeper than many employers realize.

The Harris Poll and Glassdoor surveyed nearly 1,000 employed U.S. adults about their employers’ response to COVID-19 coronavirus and sentiments on working from home. The survey revealed a lack of employee confidence in their employers’ responses to the Coronavirus outbreak. Furthermore, working from home amid the pandemic is proving harder than employees thought.

Survey findings centered on the following three trends:

Employees embrace remote work but employers are divided in response

  • Employers responses: Nearly 3 in 10 employees (28%) across all income ranges said their employer has done nothing in response to concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
    • The Wage Divide: 42% of employees with a household income of less than $50K annually say they have heard nothing/seen no action from their employers about COVID-19, compared to 19% of employees with a household income of $100K+ annually
  • Mandatory remote work: 67% of employees said they would support the decision by their employer to mandate employees to work from home indefinitely due to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.
  • Paid sick leave: 16% of employees said their companies offered additional paid/unpaid sick leave in response to concerns of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak.

Confidence in remote work capability 

  • 3 in 5 U.S. employees (60%) said they are confident they can efficiently do their job remotely, if they are required to work from home indefinitely.
  • Maintain productivity: 50% of employees believe they would be equally or more productive working from home as opposed to their normal work location.
  • Confidence by age: 68% of employees aged 18-34 reported being confident in efficiently doing their work remotely if they have to, compared to 44% of employees aged 55-64.
  • Confidence by gender: A quarter (25%) of female employees reported that it isn’t possible to do their job remotely, compared to 14% of male employees.
  • Confidence among parents: 71% of employed parents with children under age 18 said that they feel confident they can efficiently do their job remotely if they have to.

Remote work distractions 

  • Top distraction: The top distraction employees cite that would take them away from work if they were to work from home is watching TV (32%).
  • Lack of human interaction: 22% of employees are concerned about going ‘stir crazy’ when considering being mandated or encouraged to work from home in the wake of COVID-19 coronavirus.
  • At-home childcare: 27% of employed parents w/ children under 18 said they would be concerned about the difficulty of managing children while working at home. 
  • Social interaction as a parent: A quarter (25%) of employed parents with children under age 18 cited lack of social interaction as a concern when working from home, compared to 18% of employees without children under age 18.


This post was originally published on Glassdoor, one of the world's largest job posting and recruiting sites.

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