Poll: Majority of U.S. Workplaces Will Reopen July 15, But Significant Portion Have No Date Set

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jun 11, 2020

A recent poll has found that 53 percent of workplaces plan to reopen on July 15, but a significant portion, 45 percent, said they have no such planned date yet. Furthermore,  larger organizations of more than 500 people reported that they were less likely than small organizations to have set a firm date, as 53 percent of such entities have not made any announcements as to reopening, compared to 44 percent of small organizations and 41 percent of medium-sized organizations. Furthermore, 51 percent of organizations engaged in knowledge work have not announced a reopening date, compared to 44 percent of those doing service work and 35 percent of those doing physical work.

The survey, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), came from a sample of 1,087 human resources professionals across the country.

It also found that about a third of organizations, 29 percent, said they will let people work from home until at least the end of the year, and 26 percent said they will allow those who previously did not work from home to do so permanently. Sixty-eight percent of organizations probably or definitely will adopt broader or more flexible work-from-home policies for all workers.

For those organizations that will be having people return to a workplace, 85 percent said they will enforce spaced seating in common areas, 83 percent said they'll reduce seating in common areas overall, and 83 percent said they'll enforce limits on the number of people in common areas. Furthermore, 79 percent said they'll space work stations further apart, 78 percent said they're getting rid of shared work spaces entirely, 71 percent said they'll add new floor markers for social distancing purposes, and 69 percent will add partitions between employees and between employees and customers.

The poll also found that 80 percent of the employers that require personal protective equipment are offering it to their employees for free.

"This research gives a glimpse into how COVID-19 has changed the world of work, and what workplaces will look like once we return," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., the SHRM president and CEO. "Workers should expect to see more masks, fewer handshakes, marked floors, more barriers, and greater flexibility—especially when it comes to remote work."

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