May 8, 2022
While COVID-19 infections increase around the United States, 72% of American employees currently work in-person and 13% have a hybrid arrangement.
Twenty-eight percent of employees currently working in-person or in a hybrid model worked entirely remotely at some point during the pandemic. Among the 16% of employees who still work entirely remotely, 80% intend to continue doing so for the near future. Eight percent intend to go back at least one day a week and 12% are not sure.
Among workers who worked entirely remotely at any point during the pandemic but have now returned to the workplace at least some of the time, 45% report that the amount of work they are getting done has improved since returning to work in-person. However, nearly as many (41%) say the amount of stress they experience has gotten worse. About three-quarters think that the way things are going for them in general has stayed the same or improved and about two-thirds say the same about their work-life balance. Among these workers, women are more likely than men to report that their stress levels have increased after returning to work in-person (50% vs. 30%).
When it comes to the sources of stress from working in-person, employees most commonly cite balancing work with other responsibilities and being exposed to COVID-19 as actual or anticipated causes of stress. Fewer consider their commute or in-person interactions with coworkers as significant sources of stress.
Women are more likely than men to cite being exposed to the coronavirus at work as a major source of stress (30% vs. 19%), while non-white workers are more likely to do so than white workers (34% vs. 18%). Non-white workers are also more likely to report commuting to work (57% vs. 45%) and interacting with coworkers (59% vs. 48%) as sources of stress.
Fifty-five percent of employees currently working entirely remotely think their overall level of stress would increase if they return to work in-person. Specifically, the possibility of contracting COVID-19 and having to commute to the workplace are seen as possible stressors they were to return to working in-person.
Among employed adults who never worked fully remotely during the pandemic, 45% report that the way things are going for them in general has stayed the same. However, 50% say they are experiencing more stress n general. And while most think that the amount of work they get done and their work-life balance has remained consistent, more say that it has deteriorated rather than improved.
The nationwide poll was conducted April 14-18, 2022 using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,085 adults. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.9 percentage points.
- Suggested Citation: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. (April 2022).“As Employees Return to the Workplace, Many Experience Increased Stress” [https://apnorc.org/projects/as-employees-return-to-the-workplace-many-experience-increased-stress/]