Marist National Poll: Returning to Work During a Pandemic, December 2021

Fewer Working In-Person Than Before the Pandemic

The nature of work has changed for the traditional American worker. Fewer Americans who receive a paycheck, compared with before the coronavirus pandemic, are fully working in-person, and nearly seven in ten workers nationally have no desire to work in-person all the time. Concerns about contracting COVID-19 are more pronounced among in-person workers than their remote and hybrid counterparts. This data was collected as part of a student research project at Marist College led by Jacklyn DiRienzo, Amanda Poor, and Greta Stuckey.

The Nature of Work
Are you now working for pay:
Source: Marist Poll National Adults Working In-person Before the Pandemic. Interviews conducted November 16th through November 19th, 2021, n=479 MOE +/-6.2 percentage points.
  • Prior to the pandemic, 46% of adults nationally were working in-person, 5% were working from home, and 13% were working in a hybrid work environment. 35% were not working.

  • Currently, 36% report working in-person, 13% are working from home, and 13% are working hybrid. 38% report not currently working.

  • Among those who were working in-person before the pandemic, 64% now report they are working in person. More than seven in ten pre-pandemic remote and hybrid workers now say they are currently working remotely (32%) or are in a hybrid setting (40%).

  • A majority of current, in-person workers would either opt to work remotely (15%) or in a hybrid model (38%), if they had the choice. 47% prefer to work in-person. While most hybrid workers (82%) would continue to work both in-person and remotely, remote workers divide between fully working remote (48%) or in a hybrid setting (44%).

  • In-person workers are more likely to have a great deal (20%) or a good amount (17%) of concern that they will contract coronavirus. Fewer remote workers (1% great deal/7% good amount) or hybrid workers (4% great deal/11% good amount) share this concern.

Americans Weigh in on Mandates

A majority of Americans (51%), up from 46% in September, oppose mandates which require workers to be vaccinated from coronavirus in order to return to work. Consensus exists among in-person (57%), remote (53%), and hybrid (59%) workers.

55% of Americans support mask mandates before employees can return to the workplace. Attitudes differ based on how workers are doing their jobs. 60% of remote workers think mask mandates should be in place. In-person (48%) and hybrid (47%) workers divide.