COVID-19 has changed almost everything about the way we work together. Overnight, we were forced to take everything we did at the office and figure out how to do it at home. Now, we’re pros at connecting with our co-workers online. We’ve figured out how to get stuff done while sitting on the couch in our pajamas. 

And because we adjusted so quickly to working from home during quarantine, it might seem like going back to the office will be just as fast. But there are a lot of reasons why a speedy return might not be what’s best for your company.

Why? Of course, you’ll want to make sure the proper safety measures are in place first. But we also need to face a hard truth—the “back to normal” moment we’ve all been craving is never going to come. Living in quarantine for months has fundamentally changed who we are, as people and as workers. The line between work and life has blurred, which means our needs and priorities have shifted, too.

A recent study reveals that employees are just as productive at home. And even when COVID-19 is over, 44% want to spend anywhere from one to four days working remotely

That statistic alone should be enough to bring your back-to-the-office planning to a screeching halt. If employees want to spend more time at home, and they’re just as productive—what’s the purpose of your office? Should you have a shared workspace at all? 

Well, the answer is different for every company. Some organizations are embracing the opportunity to reduce overhead costs by going 100% remote post-COVID. Others are planning a full return to the office, while others still are adapting a hybrid model—that gives employees the flexibility to work where and when they want. 

The key is to figure out what’s best for your employees, and explore what purpose (if any) your office space serves. But you won’t know what’s right for your company until you ask.

So before you announce your “Back to the Office” plan, send this survey to gauge how your employees are feeling about the return. These questions will help you understand any major concerns, what’s working about your current remote set-up, and what employees miss most about the office. Use those insights to reimagine what your workplace looks like, how it can better serve employees’ needs, and how you can learn from the current moment to prepare for the future of work.

A “Back to the Office” Employee Survey Template

1) When it comes to COVID-19, do you live in a high-risk household? (you or a family member has an auto-immune disease, is elderly, or is an essential worker)

  • Yes
  • No
  • Prefer not to respond

2) Do you currently have any children under the age of 18 and/or adult dependents you care for living in your home?

  • Yes, I do
  • No, I don’t

3) If not for COVID-19, where would you most likely be working right now? 

  • I would spend most of my time working from the office
  • I would spend most of my time working from home

4) How productive are you working from home full-time rather than at the office?

  • I’m far more productive working from home
  • I’m somewhat more productive working from home
  • I’m just as productive working from home
  • I’m somewhat less productive working from home
  • I’m far less productive working from home

5) What do you miss about working from the office? Please check all that apply.

  • A full workplace setup (desk, second monitor, office chair, etc.)
  • A designated time and space to focus solely on work
  • Fast internet
  • Casual interactions with colleagues
  • Access to conference rooms
  • Being able to work from different locations within the office
  • Access to office supplies
  • Access to food
  • Access to whiteboards, etc. for collaboration
  • None of the above
  • Other: ___________________

6) If our company followed the guidelines recommended by the CDC, I would want to immediately start working from the office again.

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

7) Working from home works better when the entire company works from home.

  • Strongly agree
  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree
  • Strongly disagree

8) Before COVID-19, how did you get to work? 

  • I took public transportation
  • I drove my own car
  • I took a taxi or other ride-sharing service
  • I walked
  • I biked
  • Other: ____________

9) If we went back to the office right now, how would you get to work?  

  • I would take public transportation
  • I would drive my own car
  • I would take a taxi or other ride-sharing service
  • I would walk
  • I would bike
  • Other: ____________

10) How comfortable would you be traveling for work right now? 

  • Very comfortable
  • Somewhat comfortable
  • Neutral
  • Somewhat uncomfortable
  • Very uncomfortable
  • Travel is not a part of my job duties