In an astonishing revelation, baby boomers feel safer going back to their offices than millennials even as COVID-19 continues to spread, according to a new Clutch survey.
Some 59% of employees over 55 would feel safe returning to their office, compared with 53% of workers both age 35-55 and under 35. The finding is thought-provoking as news reports have suggested that boomers are among the groups most likely to face problems from the coronavirus pandemic.
A ratings and review firm, Clutch’ recently surveyed surveyed 400 U.S. workers.
Even if the difference is slight, Clutch Editorial Manager Shelby Jordan told Black Enterprise she thinks the discovery is extremely shocking given older employees’ increased susceptibility to the virus. She is unsure why. But Jordan says that maybe while millennials are not as concerned for their own safety, they are more concerned about the safety of those around them. For example, they would be hesitant to return to the office because they could catch the virus and put those around them—like parents and friends—in danger.
“Based on my past report, I do think companies are doing a great job of accommodating their workspaces to make their staff feel safe, Jordan says. “This could explain nearly even numbers across all age groups.”
The gap between boomers and millennials isn’t the only difference. In terms of location, the survey revealed that people in the Midwest (64%) would feel safe working from their office in this stage of the pandemic. That’s compared with 56% of Southern employees, 45% of Western employees, and 36% of Northeastern employees.
“I think the Midwest feels safer going back to work because the region features a more spread-out landscape—it is easier to remain socially distant,” Jordan says.
Other findings indicated most employees (55%) would feel safe working from their office at this point in the pandemic, and just 32% would feel unsafe. The rest fall in the middle.
Some (82%) of the American workforce is comfortable commuting to work safely amid COVID-19, which is understandable given that 84% of employees drive to work alone.
About 75% of employees concur that private office spaces are the safest office layout, but only 1 in 5 have that option. The most popular floor plan today is a mixed office space (42%) that combines private spaces with communal areas.
The survey further showed that the pandemic highlighted some factors that suggest remote work will be a more popular and accepted alternative after COVID-19.
While almost all employees feel safe commuting to their office, working from home offers time back in their day to spend with friends and family or simply relax. Plus, some workers report their home office set-up is just as comfortable and productive as their desk at company headquarters.
Urban cities and rural areas have faced different obstacles in managing the spread of COVID-19, leaving some regions more ready to return to work than others. However, American employees have recognized the benefits of working from home over working in a traditional office.
Interestingly, all age groups in the U.S. workforce have a consistent perception of safety in the office. The survey indicated over half of each generation would feel safe returning to work. Still, some employees are concerned about the ages of co-workers, family, and friends around them.