Where you work best: 3 top trends from the 2020 Work Environment Survey
How are you feeling about how and where you’ve worked in 2020? Will the pandemic have a long-term impact on what things you look for in an ideal workspace? In the 4th annual Work Environment Survey, the Workplace Solutions (WPS) team sought out the answer from professionals across the country like you. The team surveyed 4,603 full-time office professionals (outside of Capital One) across the U.S. with questions specifically geared towards understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their experience, satisfaction and productivity at work.
Flexibility and support for mental health rank high
In the previous three years, the goal of the survey was to understand what today's talent wants, needs and expects in their workplace. Because of the drastic changes 2020 forced us to make to the way we work, this most recent survey pivoted to look at the impacts of the pandemic on the workplace, how people are getting work done, what work from home looks like and what people envision for the future.
Not surprisingly, flexibility was a big theme for people in 2020. Work-life balance has taken on a new meaning as the line between our work and home lives blurred due to the pandemic. Flexibility is truly top of mind for professional workers in 2020. With so many more people working remotely than ever before, the survey findings show an overall positive view of remote work.
- 86% agree the pandemic has created a positive view of remote work (even though 61% agree they miss having a clear separation between work and home).
When most companies shifted to remote work, there were lots of questions about how working from home would go. Many months in, most people feel as productive at home as they were in the office.
- 78% agree working from home can be as effective as working in the office.
The pandemic has added stress for many people. The survey results reflect an increased interest in mental health support and benefits from employers, especially as people feel more isolated without the camaraderie of an office environment. This year saw an increased focus on mental health needs and expectations.
- 83% of employees say it's important their employer creates spaces and programs to support their mental health.
- People are reporting increased feelings of loneliness (33%), stress (20%) and anxiety (20%) as a result of working from home.
What they miss
While there’s a lot that people say they appreciate about the current work from home climate, they also report missing in-person interaction in an office setting and the natural collaboration that occurs.
- 90% agree that collaborative teamwork is about the same or better at the office than at home.
- 73% miss the personal interactions with colleagues while 71% miss the opportunities for collaboration.
What will work look like in the future?
The pandemic completely changed where and how we work this year. Employees around the country expect that employers should be prepared for long-term changes.
- 52% of employees would like for their employers to permanently put in place broader work from home capabilities.
- 8 in 10 people expect other companies to implement more flexible work from home policies after our experiences in 2020.
The takeaway? Employees are eager for more flexibility and mental health support in the workplace. Professionals are seeking a healthier balance of life outside of the office while still offering meaningful human connections. While the pandemic will pass, it has shed light on what people really value.
What our workplace looks like now
These factors have always been a foundational element to Capital One culture that associates have enjoyed before the pandemic and that have helped ease the changes in the midst of the pandemic. “My favorite reason for choosing Capital One is the commitment to work-life balance,” says Joy, Senior Process Manager. “Whether it's taking time off to participate in my son's after school activities or taking care of my aging mom, I have never felt pressured that I was taking away from my work or the expectations of the company. My managers and leaders know that we have a life outside of work that is valuable.”
To encourage even more of this care for families and loved ones during the pandemic, associates had access to additional paid family leave and more flexibility in work as parents helped their children tackle virtual learning. There was also a resounding encouragement throughout the year to make sure associates unplugged and took time away from their work responsibilities to decompress, including days for associates to invest in themselves. Managers and people leaders sent messages reminding people to use their time off, even if they didn’t leave the house, or to log off early and spend the afternoon doing something fun.
For some associates, that even translated into a completely remote work model going forward. In late 2020, the US Card team announced that most call center associates would be working remotely permanently. Associates feel supported with flexibility and benefits to live their best lives at home and at work. They know that pursuing a healthy and balanced life is a top priority. Our workspaces have always been intentionally designed with flexibility and choice in mind to allow associates to choose how and where they work when they are in the office. Those are values that have guided us as we have had to reimagine a more virtual work experience for most of our associates throughout the pandemic. What each associate needs is unique, but they can thrive in an environment where they are recognized, heard and valued.
The Capital One Work Environment Survey was conducted by Morning Consult and was sent to 1,000 working professionals nationwide, 130 working professionals in Richmond, as well as 500 working professionals in each of the following markets: Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco (473), New York City, Chicago and Dallas + 500 tech employees.
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