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Benchmark for the Prepare for returning to the workplace survey


Since releasing our Prepare for returning to the workplace survey in May, we’ve had almost 100 organizations globally use this template to help plan an effective transition back to the workplace. This means we have sufficient data to create a full benchmark, which requires a minimum of 20 companies and 20,000 responses

The insights we share below are based on the first 32,000 individual responses, and the data will be reviewed again once more surveys have been launched.  

Limitations

Before sharing the insights from the benchmark data, it’s important to keep in mind some limitations in reference to the data set:

  • Location of the organizations who have launched: half of the data (50%) comes from North America with far fewer return to work surveys launched in Oceania (19%), Asia (15%) and Europe (13%). Given the different phases of COVID-19 that each region is in, this is unsurprising. In many parts of Europe for example, lockdown restrictions have only just started to ease and it’s likely we will see more return to work surveys launch in the coming weeks as government advice continues to shift. 
  • Profile of the organizations that have launched: almost a quarter (22%) of all surveys launched are from Computer Software organizations with a further 6% from IT companies. This reflects the pattern we saw in the COVID-19 Response benchmark data, whereby these types of organization are likely able to pivot faster in their response and be more agile in gathering employee feedback. We also see a skew towards smaller organizations with 53% of surveys launched by companies with up to 200 employees. In comparison, 13% of larger organizations (500-1000 employees) have launched the survey with just 2% of the data coming from companies with 5000+ employees. 

How to use this benchmark

You can load this benchmark as a source of comparison within the platform. Our hope is the benchmark gives you additional context for how your data compares to other organizations, but it shouldn’t be considered as a target to hit, as every region, industry, and organization will have its own unique challenges to face. 

As we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic, each company will have a unique experience and the transition back to the workplace is also likely to be met with individual challenges and considerations. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a global benchmark that reflects the broad experience of returning to work - more than ever, the experience will be heavily impacted by geographical location. Whilst we are currently unable to split the benchmark by regional differences, this may be something we can do as we continue to collect increasing amounts of data from the return to work surveys launched.  

Trends we’re seeing

Participation

We are seeing good levels of participation for the return to work surveys, with the median participation rate at 84%. This is slightly higher than the participation rates we’ve seen for COVID-19 response surveys (78%) and is more in line with the participation we usually see for engagement surveys. Given this survey is so intrinsically linked to the experience of the employee and their world of work, it’s likely that this has driven stronger participation rates.

Favorability 

While many of the Culture Amp survey templates focus on the organization (i.e. evaluating what the organization has done) the Return to the workplace questions focus on the individual and their own feelings and experiences. Therefore, on some items, we are seeing lower favorability scores than we would typically see in engagement surveys. For example, just 34% of respondents would feel safe being in the workplace when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. (This is in stark contrast to the COVID-19 Benchmark data where we saw unusually high levels of favorability). 

The outcome index - Return Readiness

Return Readiness is defined using these 4 questions, that captures how safe employees feel and how ready they are to return to the workplace;

Question

Favorability

I will feel safe being in the workplace when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

34%

I am looking forward to returning to the workplace

51%

I am confident that my transition back to the workplace will be straightforward

56%

I am confident I can make an effective transition back to the workplace

66%

 

We’ve found that overall Return Readiness is modest at 52%. Within the index, ‘I will feel safe being in the workplace when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted’ has the lowest favorability (34%), with the overall index score being heavily skewed by the more favorable responses to the item ‘I am confident I can make an effective transition back to the workplace’ (66%). 

As mentioned above, whilst we don’t yet have sufficient data to benchmark the Return Readiness index by region, in EMEA we have noted that the outcome measure sits around 10 points lower than the global average (typically 30-40% favorability). 

Top drivers

In the same way that you can’t just make someone feel more engaged, you can’t make an employee feel safe and ready to return to the workplace - you need to understand what things are impacting on that experience. What our data tells us is that Support is an important feature in driving overall Return Readiness, both in terms of being able to transition with minimal disruption and being able to manage caring responsibilities. Feeling safe to travel, as well as using workplace facilities are also heavily impacting employee readiness to return. 

Driver Rank

Factor

Question

1

Wellbeing

I am feeling energized about returning to the workplace

2

Support

I am able to transition back to the workplace with minimal disruption to my usual routine/personal life

3

Safety

I would feel safe using workplace facilities (e.g. gym, cafeteria, social areas) when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

4

Support

I am able to manage any caring responsibilities while transitioning back to work (e.g. child care, looking after dependents)

5

Travel

I would feel comfortable traveling for work-related purposes (e.g. attending offsite meetings) when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

Most favorable items

The data shows that items around Remote Working are the most favorable, in particular having the resources to continue working from home if needed and seeing the benefit of remote working in the future. Given that for many organizations the COVID-19 pandemic is the first time employees have worked remotely, this data would suggest that there is an appetite for it to continue and this experience will shape what the future of work looks like for many organizations. 

Factor

Question

Favorability

Remote Working

I have the resources/equipment to continue working remote should I need to

88%

Wellbeing

I believe I will be treated fairly by my coworkers as I transition back to the workplace

85%

Support

I feel confident that I would receive support from coworkers if I needed it

85%

Remote Working

I believe our [team/department] would benefit from some degree of remote working in the future

85%

Remote Working

I believe I can do my work as effectively remote as in the workplace

84%

 

Least favorable items

The data shows that items around travel and safety are the least favorable.

Factor

Question

Favorability

Travel

I would feel comfortable traveling for work-related purposes (e.g. attending offsite meetings) when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

31%

Return Readiness

I will feel safe being in the workplace when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

34%

Travel

I would feel safe traveling to the workplace when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

37%

Safety

I would feel safe using %ACCOUNT_NAME%'s workplace facilities (e.g. gym, cafeteria, social areas) when COVID-19 restrictions are lifted

38%

Please note the item ‘I feel confident that any changes to my personal circumstances will not impact my ability to do my job effectively’ is not currently included in the Prepare for returning to work benchmark. 



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