Post-COVID Workplace

Returning to the Office in the Time of COVID-19

The data says we won’t be at home forever. Explore the research about how workplaces and home offices will need to adapt in the future (click on the tabs below).


This article is part of a series of updates to “Navigating What’s Next: The Post-COVID Workplace.
Published July 20, 2020

Workers desire and leaders expect to return to the office.

Executives expect to bring people back to the office in waves over time.

65% of employees back on-site by end of June

80% of employees back on-site by end of September

88% of employees back on-site by end of December

Qualitative research about returning to the office fell into three main groupings.

X people representing X

Most people want to return to the office when it is less risky.

X people representing X

Some people want to return as soon as it’s ready.

3 people representing

A few people want to continue working from home long term.

McKinsey & Company: How US Companies Are Planning for a Safe Return to the Workplace, June 2020

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., June 2020

Increase in remote work and office work.

Leaders expect people will still want to come into the office, but also will be more likely to take advantage of existing work-from-home policies.

70﹪ expect increase in remote work

47﹪ expect an increase in office work

An ecosystem of places can provide people with more choices for where they work. Organizations are starting to consider adding alternative or satellite locations to offer more options.

Steelcase COVID-19 Global Study, April 2020

Leaders know they’ll need to make changes to the office.

Types of changes leaders have made, or plan to make in the physical workplace

84﹪
physical separation of workstations

69﹪
install physical barriers between workstations

43﹪
replace handles and touch points with hands-free devices

41﹪
change surface materials to antiviral

McKinsey & Company: How US Companies Are Planning for a Safe Return to the Workplace, June 2020 (Percentage of respondents)

Decision makers expect major shifts to happen post pandemic.

Steelcase COVID-19 Global Study, April 2020

The Need For Change: Retrofit and Reconfigure

Today, 98﹪ of workstations and meetings rooms need to change to support distancing requirements or provide a space divider that is at least 54 inches high.

Steelcase review of global customer data

Despite more people working from home, leaders expect their real estate footprint to increase or stay the same.

Office Square Footage

Increase 48﹪
Stay the Same 48﹪
Decrease 4﹪

Workstation Square Footage

Increase 41﹪
Stay the Same 47﹪
Decrease 12﹪

Steelcase COVID-19 Global Study, April 2020

Steelcase review of global customer data

Steelcase COVID-19 Global Study, April 2020

Discover more strategies to plan your workplace and home office.

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Working from home full time is hard.

Productivity suffers while working from home.

48%

29%

Before
WFH

After
WFH

I am able to complete the quality of work necessary to meet my company standards.

49%

31%

Before
WFH

After
WFH

I am able to complete the quantity of work necessary to meet my company standards.

47%

30%

Before
WFH

After
WFH

I can consistently complete a significant amount of work.

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

It’s harder to support your teammates.

Most said their ability to help co-workers, take on extra assignments, offer suggestions or coach and mentor has been hindered.

79﹪

Hindered

21﹪

Not Hindered

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

People struggle finding a great place to work.

Home distractions

Delivery people, kids, pets… the home offers its own distractions.

People say they lack a place:

36﹪ free from distractions

35﹪ with enough acoustical privacy

28﹪ physically comfortable

28﹪ with enough visual privacy

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

Where people work

desk icon

50﹪
Desk

dining-table-icon

20﹪
Dining
Table

couch icon

15﹪
Couch or
Lounge

Bed icon

9﹪
Bed

kitchen icon

7﹪
Kitchen
Counter

outdoor icon

5﹪
Outdoor
Furniture

On average, only half of people say they always or almost always work at a desk.

*Note: Percentages do not add up to 100% because some people use multiple locations within their home.

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

Leaders may not realize how hard it is. They face fewer challenges than their employees working from home.

Those who always or almost always work at a desk

Those who have an ergonomic chair

Those who have a secondary monitor

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

A better work-from-home setup can boost productivity.

Workers experience higher productivity when they have access to:


High Speed
Internet

Ergonomic
Chair

Second
Monitor

Visual and Acoustical
Privacy

Comfortable
Spaces

Steelcase COVID-19 Study, U.S., April 2020

Discover more strategies to plan your workplace and home office.

view home office spaces

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