Work Has Left the Building – Will It Ever Return? asks Reputation Leaders

68% of workers trust their employers to make the right decisions about their work and health when returning to the workplace post-COVID-19 restrictions.A dramatic workforce transformation is happening in front of our eyes. COVID-19 began as a health crisis and is playing out as an economic crisis and a social crisis. Work literally left the building and whole industries are disrupting at speeds never seen before. To find out how COVID-19 is accelerating What Workers Want, ManpowerGroup, in partnership with Reputation Leaders, asked 8000 people in 8 countries about the future for workers and the workplace.

As lockdowns lift and restrictions ease, nearly all (94%) of workers say they have concerns about going back to the workplace, but only 5% say they don’t want to go back. Workers want to feel reassured that health, safety, and wellbeing come first when returning to the workplace. Across the world, workers want employers to ensure unwell workers stay home (75%), enforce strict hygiene policies (74%), and communicate clearly on how health will be protected before workers return to the workplace (73%).

Trust and transparency have never been more important. Three in five (62%) who trust their employers to make the right work and health decisions are likely to feel positive about returning to the workplace.

Working from home has had benefits – half of workers (52%) list not having to commute as one of their top 3 benefits of working from home, which is followed by a flexible working schedule (38%), avoiding physical contact with others (38%) and spending more time with family (38%).

However, returning to the workplace, workers are looking forward to being able to both socialize (30%) and collaborate (29%) with their colleagues in person and maintaining a clearer division between their private and professional life (31%).

While almost half of men (46%) feel positive about returning to the workplace, the same is true for only one-third of women (35%). Women report feeling more scared, concerned, or nervous about returning to the workplace after the pandemic, and more women than men say they don’t want to return to their workplace.

Overall, 43% of workers agree that the crisis marks the end of the 9-5 in the office, and 50% of those who agree to feel happy about that fact. Most prefer 2-3 days a week in the workplace.


In June 2020 ManpowerGroup commissioned a study of 8,000 workers in 8 countries to understand attitudes towards work and workplace leaders. The fieldwork ran from June 1 to June 16, 2020, with 1000 workers in each of France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, UK and USA in local languages. The data which was screened then weighted to gender and age national labor statistics. The margin of error for the study is +/- 1.1% and +/- 3.1% by country.

Full results from