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Home / Opinion / Career corner: The pandemic workplace

Career corner: The pandemic workplace

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Just when we thought we were out of the woods, the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving. Every day, the news is talking about variants. We’re crossing our fingers, hoping that a full shutdown doesn’t happen again. In the meantime, businesses are trying to figure out how to get back to normal and employees are weighing their thoughts on it all.

Glassdoor.com recently released the results of another survey. Glassdoor focused on employee attitudes around going back to the office in the midst of a pandemic. They found that 96 percent of employees plan to return to the office in some capacity, and 66 percent of those surveyed are eager to go. Twenty-seven percent of employees said they felt less connected to their coworkers and 26 percent felt less connected to their company’s culture.

Employees also felt working from home might impact their future career path. Thirty percent of those surveyed worried that working from home long term could impact their ability to get a promotion.

All of this said, 89 percent of employees surveyed have concerns about returning to the office. In particular, 35 percent of people said they are concerned about contracting COVID-19 if they go back in person. Seventy percent of employees surveyed feel that employees should be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine before returning to work. And 23 percent said they would consider quitting if they were required to return to the office before all employees were vaccinated.

Seventeen percent also said they would consider quitting their job if they were required to go back to the office five days a week, regardless of COVID or the vaccine.

It’s hard to believe we’re still having to think about the pandemic, and this new world of work. By now, we would have assumed things would have been back to normal. When you think about the results shared, it would be interesting to talk to these employees in more detail. It’s unfortunate that 27 percent of people felt less connected to coworkers. But how did the other 73 percent feel? It would also be interesting to know how many people felt disconnected from their company when we were still at work in person.

One thing we’ve learned is that not all work is really work. Work can be talk around the watercooler. It’s lunches together. It’s relationship building. The question I keep wondering is this: Will work evolve along with work from home? Will we find ways to connect around a virtual watercooler? We’ve been doing this for almost a year and a half.

It’s interesting that 17 percent of people said they would consider quitting if they have to go back in person – regardless of COVID. This shows a shift in work culture. At first, it sounds irresponsible, but employees have this opinion because remote work is now offered by more companies.

How do the Glassdoor findings compare to your opinions of returning to the workplace?

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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