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Survey Report

Employees’ work experience during the pandemic

2020 Global Benefits Attitudes Survey – U.S.

Health and Benefits|Retirement|Talent|Total Rewards|Wellbeing
N/A

February 5, 2021

Discover employee perspectives on their work experience during COVID-19 and their wellbeing, retirement expectations and benefit preferences.
Overall impact
  • While a significant share of employees report that their social connections (42%) and mental/emotional health (29%) have worsened during the pandemic, over a third (37%) indicate that their relationship with their spouse has improved, and only 10% say their spousal relationship has worsened.
  • Work-from-home arrangements have increased. While roughly a third of employees (33%) report that they worked from home sometimes (19%) or most of the time (14%) before the pandemic, over half (53%) do so sometimes (22%) or most of the time (31%) today.
33%
worked from home sometimes or most of the time before the pandemic
53%
of employees do so sometimes or most of the time today
Work effectiveness
  • Over nine in 10 employees (91%) report they have the same or better work performance as before the start of the pandemic; however, nearly half (47%) say they feel more disconnected from their team or organization. And disconnected employees report higher levels of disengagement, anxiety and presenteeism.
  • Employees working from home worry about the potential negative impact on their career development (39%), especially younger workers (45% of Gen Z and 50% of Gen Y) and those with children (52%).
How are working parents coping?
  • Parents report that work/life balance has improved during the pandemic, especially for dual earners, 44% of whom report that their work/life balance is better.
  • Parents took more time off due to unexpected reasons and face distractions and stress, reducing their effectiveness when working from home. Fathers are more likely than mothers to say they are distracted while working from home (59% versus 39%), although mothers are doing the majority of the extra caregiving.
  • Working from home frees up time to support children during a period of time when they have more needs. Mothers, including 59% of dual earners and 69% of single earners, spend more time providing childcare. Single mothers are struggling the most with anxiety issues.
Figure shows a single adult 52% female, 39% male; single earner 69% female, 45% male; and dual earners 59% female and 54% male.
A greater percentage of female employees experienced a significant increase in time spent caring for their children in comparison with their male counterparts.
How can employers make a positive impact?

Flexibility

In the future, almost four in 10 employees (38%) would prefer a mixed onsite/work-from-home experience. Over two-fifths (41%) desire to work onsite in the future all the time, and 21% are looking to work from home all the time.

Some employees would like to work from home but realize that their job can only be performed onsite. Roughly four in 10 employees are looking for more flexibility as to when (44%) and where (40%) they work.

Work arrangements

Employees seek subsidies for equipment for remote work. Half of high earners and roughly six in 10 employees who currently work from home more than before the pandemic (58%) and those who would prefer to work from home most of the time in the future (56%) are looking for subsidies for equipment to work remotely.

Almost six in 10 employees (57%) who prefer to work onsite all the time in the future and half of those who earn less than $50,000 a year desire free snacks or meals onsite, and meal vouchers.

Roughly half of employees who prefer to work onsite all the time in the future are looking for enhanced safety, specifically improved workplace safety policies and protocols (46%) and personal protective equipment (51%). In contrast fewer than a third of employees who prefer to work remotely all the time desire enhanced safety protocols and equipment.

Work/life balance

Over half of employees (52%) desire more generous paid time off, vacation and sick leave. This group includes over half of females, older workers and those working from home more than before as well as 60% of those who prefer to work onsite in the future.

Next section: Mental/emotional health and social

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