Staff Survey Questions To Ask Before Returning To The Office

With many counties in Oregon approaching Phase 2 opening, and Multnomah County hoping to enter Phase 1 shortly, returning to the office is top of mind for many of us. Understanding the challenges, preferences, and concerns of our employees is a prudent first step to inform the planning process. Below are a few questions that my firm (PAE) posed to employees a few weeks ago. I hope these help your firm to form and conduct a staff survey to find the best return-to-the-office solutions for your team. 

  • Are you or someone in your household currently considered at risk for COVID-19? 
  • How did you typically commute prior to COVID-19? 
  • How do you anticipate getting to work during COVID-19? 
  • Prior to COVID-19, approximately how many days did you work from home? 
  • Once it is deemed generally save to return to work at the office, how many days would you like to continue working from home? 
  • Before COVID-19 what were your top 3 reasons for coming into the office? (Options: collaborate/work with others, attend meetings, role responsibilities, socialize and face-time, change of scene, better equipment, other)
  • How’s it going for you, working from home? How would you rate your personal productivity during COVID-19? (Options: Major increase, slight increase, same productivity, slight decrease, major decrease) 
  • How would you evaluate your work from home arrangements? 
  • What are your 4 biggest concerns for returning to the office? (Options: Commute, safety in common areas, employees coming in sick, employees coming in sick, infecting others, care for someone at home, wearing a mask all day, mental health, loss of productivity)
  • Would you be comfortable with temperature checks at the office? 

Some of the key findings from this 315 person survey: 

  • 44% of our employees have someone in their household considered at-risk. 
  • Prior to WFH a majority of our employees used public transit to get to work; when considering returning to work in the coming months, 40% fewer people planned to use public transit. 
  • Once it is safe to return to the office an overwhelming majority of people want to now work 2-3 days a week from home. 
  • The main driver for staff to come in to the office before and after COVID-19 quarantine is collaboration, socialization and face-to-face time. One noticeable drop was attending meetings – perhaps indicating we have learned how to have effective virtual meetings while working from home. 
  • A majority of staff have either experienced an increase or no change in productivity. Only 17% of people feel their productivity has slightly decreased. 
  • Understandably, the largest concern about returning to the office is getting sick in the office environment. 
  • Finally, a large majority of people were comfortable with temperatures checks in the office. 

While these results are specific to my firm, I’m sure many of the results resonate with you. Please feel free to use these questions and/or share these results with your firm’s management and operational staff to help shape your return-to-office policies. 

Stay safe out there!

McKenzie Richardson
Marketing Manager, Associate at PAE
SMPS Oregon President

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