COVID-19 State of Remote Work Survey: 34% of Workers Felt Pressure to Return to the Office

Much has been said about the shadow cast by the pandemic across security teams, as well as the widespread and seismic changes it has facilitated across every part of business function. The sudden shift into remote working has been a challenging endeavour for everyone, but especially among senior management. According to the recent COVID-19 State of Remote Work Survey 2.0, OneLogin recently discovered that they in fact represent the biggest security risk to a business. Nevertheless, much less has been said about the personal pressure which these changes in business and working culture have exerted on individuals.

For this reason, OneLogin chose to dedicate a segment of the COVID-19 State of Remote Work Survey 2.0 on these human stress factors. In the process, they uncovered that 34% of the 2,000 global respondents suggested that they had felt some form of pressure to return to the office, despite calls from healthcare experts and governmental authorities to stay at home. The survey also found that:

  • Men were more likely to feel this pressure than women, with 42% reportedly having felt pressured to return to the office, compared to just 25% of women.
  • Those in positions of senior management were more likely to have felt pressured to return to the office, with 50% reporting so, compared to just 22% of their junior counterparts.
  • IT industry professionals also reported feeling pressured to return to the office at a rate of 50% – The highest of any profession.

OneLogin’s CEO offered his insights about these findings: 

“These results indicate that not all companies and industries have adjusted to the pandemic in the same way, or with as much flexibility or understanding. That individuals have felt pressured to return to the office during the greatest public health crisis of the century speaks to how complex the task of setting up a remote workforce has proven, and also indicates that the rapid speed of the changes ushered in by the pandemic have not been welcomed by all businesses. However, as long as the health of employees could be compromised by COVID-19, remote working is here to stay, and organizations need to ensure that they have provided employees with the information, technology and support to do so safely,” says Brad Brooks, OneLogin CEO and President.

The survey, which polled 1,000 remote workers in the UK and 1000 in the United States, also suggested that this pressure was widely felt across the United States, particularly amongst men. This comes as no surprise, as according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, US employees work an average of 1,779 hours annually – Compared to 1,538 for their UK counterparts. Other notable statistics include:

  • New Yorkers reported feeling this pressure more than any other location in the US or UK, with 62% of respondents saying they felt pressured to return to the office. This is in comparison to 25% in London, a city home to similar industries.
  • 44% of Americans reported feeling pressured to return to the office – 20% higher than in the UK.
  • 54% of men in the United States felt pressured to return to work – 12% higher than their UK counterparts.
  • Women in both the US and UK reported feeling pressured to return to the office at roughly the same rates – 26% in the US and 24% in the UK.

To see the full results of this remote work survey, download the eBook.

About the survey

This survey was conducted with 2,000 US and UK remote workers, in December 2020. Please reach out to see the full results of the survey. Conducted online, the survey was broken down by nationality, region, age, gender, job role, industry & seniority at a company.

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