The coronavirus pandemic has left a majority of workers feeling worried and anxious about returning to the office once their workplaces reopen, according to a new University of Phoenix survey.

Approximately 54 percent of workers reported feeling worried (32 percent), nervous (31 percent), hesitant (just under 30 percent) or overwhelmed (16 percent) about going back to the office, the survey found.

Beyond the issue of returning to the workplace or not, the pandemic is forcing workers to reconsider what they do for a living in the first place.

Half of workers said they were optimistic, excited, confident or relieved at the idea of returning to the office.

According to the survey, 43 percent of respondents, or 2 in five workers said that COVID-19 compelled them to reevaluate what they do for work in the first place. And many are looking to remote work as an alternative.

Approximately 51 percent of workers who have reevaluated what they want to do next say they’ll look for a situation that includes less work. Thirty-four percent say they’ll choose one that is less public-facing, reflecting lasting effects from concerns about the pandemic. About 27 percent said they’d look for a job in a more stable industry that they work in, and 26 percent say that new job should have a stronger societal impact.

Many workers – about 23 percent of those looking for something different – said they want to be their own boss.

Unemployed Also Contemplate Major Changes

For those not currently working, the pandemic is triggering a major rethink of future career moves.

The survey found that 1 in 4, about 25 percent of respondents, said the pandemic has caused them to reevaluate what they really want to do for work. For those doing so, 41 percent said they will look for remote jobs, about a third will seek a less-public-facing option and a more stable industry. Nearly 30 percent want to be their own boss for that new opportunity and 17 percent want to resume employment with a job that impacts society better.

University of Phoenix conducted its survey online in the United States via The Harris Poll, from May 12 to 14, 2020, with 2,067 adults ages 18 and older. The school said the survey is not based on a probability sample which means no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The survey also looked at changes in behavior and parenting due to the pandemic.

Source: University of Phoenix