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Employees say work and family life have improved during the pandemic

Two years after COVID was declared a pandemic, nothing is quite the same. After all the ups and downs, U.S. employees say work and family are the areas of life that have changed the most for the better. On the other hand, workers say their finances and mental health have been impacted most negatively over the course of the pandemic.

In the world of work, employers and their employees have spent two years navigating ever-changing safety policies and new work arrangements. Now, 93% of employees say the way we work has “fundamentally and forever” changed, with the most favorable changes being flexible schedules, remote work and hybrid work. With the shifts that continue to occur, the phrase workers are most eager to erase from their vocabularies is “the new normal.”

Ahead of March 11, Qualtrics asked more than 1,000 employees how their lives have been altered over the past two years. Despite the devastation and tragedy many have suffered, U.S. workers have a generally positive outlook on the changes that have occurred for work and family.

93% of employees agree the pandemic has forever changed the way we workWorkers are better off than they were two years ago

  • More employees say they are better off than they were two years ago in the following areas:
  • Employees are split when it comes to mental health.

Relationships have benefited from the pandemic

Employees say family and coworker relationships have improved over the course of the pandemic. Even pets are better off.

  • 40% of employees say their family life is better off than it was two years ago vs. 19% who say their family life is worse off
  • 68% of employees have grown closer grown closer to family members over the past two years
  • 89% of remote workers with kids say their kids are happier when they are working from home
  • 95% of remote workers with pets say their pets are happier when they are working from home.
  • 48% of employees grown closer to coworkers vs. 31% who have grown more distant

The way we work has changed forever

COVID safety policies, flexible work options and remote work have left lasting effects on the way people do their jobs.

  • The changes to work employees most want to keep after the pandemic is over:
    • 1) Flexible schedules 2) fully remote work 3) hybrid (remote and in-person) work
  • The changes to work employees most want to lose after the pandemic is over:
    • 1) Mask requirements 2) social distancing 3) vaccine requirements
  • 65% of employees say their workload has increased during the pandemic
  • 69% of employees say they have been more productive as an employee during the pandemic
  • 54% of employees say they are more effective working from home than from the office

Employees grade how well their companies handled the pandemic

Employees are looking for flexibility in new jobs

As employee needs and priorities have shifted during the pandemic, nearly half (47%) have changed jobs, including 15% who changed industries in the past two years.

  • The top reasons employees gave for seeking a new job were:
    • 1) They wanted a more flexible schedule (16%)
    • 2) They wanted more growth opportunities (14%)
    • 3) They wanted to work remotely (5%)
    • 4) Higher pay (5%)
  • 30% of workers have moved during the pandemic
    • 15% have moved to a different city, state or country

Words to erase from our vocabularies

During the past two years, we have added countless pandemic-related words to our vocabularies. Some of these new expressions are more hated than others.

  • The words and phrases employees are most eager to erase from their vocabularies are:
    • 1) The new normal
    • 2) Quarantine
    • 3) Burnout
    • 4) Social distance
    • 5) The Great Resignation
    • 6) Remote work
    • 7) Virtual happy hour
    • 8) "You’re on mute"
    • 9) Essential worker
    • 10) Unprecedented times

Learn more about employee experience


This study was fielded between Feb. 18 and Feb. 22, 2022. Respondents were selected from a randomized panel and considered eligible if they live in the United States, are at least 18 years of age and are employed full-time. The total number of respondents was 1,050. Respondents who did not pass quality standards were removed.

Qualtrics // Experience Management

Qualtrics, the leader and creator of the experience management category, is a cloud-native software platform that empowers organizations to deliver exceptional experiences and build deep relationships with their customers and employees.

With insights from Qualtrics, organizations can identify and resolve the greatest friction points in their business, retain and engage top talent, and bring the right products and services to market. Nearly 20,000 organizations around the world use Qualtrics’ advanced AI to listen, understand, and take action. Qualtrics uses its vast universe of experience data to form the largest database of human sentiment in the world. Qualtrics is co-headquartered in Provo, Utah and Seattle.

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