Results of the CRE-MSD Survey on Working from Home During COVID-19 and Transitioning Back to the Office

Overview

CRE-MSD issued a survey for employees working from home during the pandemic, which opened in March 2022 and closed in May 2022. The survey collected information about the design of remote work, health and wellness, as well as workers’ experiences and feelings about transitioning back to in-person office work.

A total of 1,002 participants completed the survey with 79% from Ontario. A summary of the aggregate results are presented below to help guide the future of computer-based work in the office, remote settings and hybrid working arrangements for both employers and employees. An analysis of the results will be provided at a later date.

Full summary of aggregate results (PDF)

Survey results: At a glance

Total respondents: 1002

Time spent in each working arrangement during the pandemic

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Bar graph of time spent in different working arrangements during the pandemic for respondents' who had a change due to the pandemic

Chart data: Time spent in each working arrangement

Question Never Less than 3 months 3 -6 months 6 -12 months More than 12 months Total
Working from home 100% of the time 81 82 111 134 557 965
Working at the workplace/on-site 100% of the time 659 121 66 66 36 948
Hybrid/blended working arrangement (sometimes at home, sometimes at the workplace/on-site) 265 230 154 110 201 960
Other (please specify) 542 30 22 8 30 632

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Description of main role

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Chart data: Main role

Answer Percentage Count
Non-managerial employee 52% 521
Supervisor or team lead 14% 139
Manager/Director 24% 243
Owner of the company 2% 21
Consultant 8% 77
Total 100% 1001

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Self-reported mental health: Before the pandemic

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Chart data: Mental health before the pandemic

Answer Percentage Count
Poor 1% 13
Fair 10% 100
Good 30% 303
Very good 44% 443
Excellent 14% 141
Total 100% 1000

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Self-reported mental health: During the pandemic

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Chart data: Mental health during the pandemic

Answer Percentage Count
Poor 10% 99
Fair 33% 327
Good 37% 369
Very good 17% 166
Excellent 4% 39
Total 100% 1000

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Self-reported physical health: Before the pandemic

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Chart data: Physical health before the pandemic

Answer Percentage Count
Poor 1% 9
Fair 10% 101
Good 36% 356
Very good 42% 423
Excellent 11% 111
Total 100% 1000

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Self-reported physical health: During the pandemic

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Chart data: Physical health during the pandemic

Answer Percentage Count
Poor 8% 80
Fair 26% 260
Good 38% 379
Very good 23% 229
Excellent 5% 52
Total 100% 1000

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Self-reported stress levels: Before the pandemic

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Chart data: Stress levels before the pandemic

Answer Percentage Count
Not at all stressful 1% 9
Not very stressful 23% 230
Somewhat stressful 58% 582
Very stressful 15% 154
Extremely stressful 3% 26
Total 100% 1001

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Self-reported stress levels: During the pandemic

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Chart data: Stress levels during the pandemic

Answer Percentage Count
Not at all stressful 0% 5
Not very stressful 8% 79
Somewhat stressful 36% 363
Very stressful 40% 400
Extremely stressful 15% 154
Total 100% 1001

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Frequency of using different computing devices when working from home

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Chart data: Computing devices used

Question Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always Total
Laptop 67 60 59 85 729 1000
Tablet 748 93 87 42 28 998
Desktop computer 637 37 50 97 178 999

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Frequency of using external devices when working from home on a laptop

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Chart data: External devices used with a laptop

Question Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always Total
External keyboard 257 51 45 127 452 932
External mouse 94 33 67 122 617 933
Stand-alone monitor 224 48 77 105 478 932
Laptop riser 445 36 79 89 284 933
Monitor riser/arm 582 28 45 67 207 929
Keyboard platform 701 27 49 38 116 931
Another device 434 10 30 65 99 638

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Use of different types of seating when working from home

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Chart data: Types of seating used

Question Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always Total
Office chair 154 28 65 199 550 996
Kitchen/dining chair 462 203 148 95 87 995
Folding chair 869 52 32 26 13 992
Couch, sofa, or recliner 512 214 171 76 22 995
Bed arm/body cushion support 791 78 67 43 16 995
Other type of seating 608 31 24 28 17 708

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Office chair features when working from home

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Chart data: Office chair features

Question Yes No Total
Does your chair have armrests? 7 100 847
Are the armrests adjustable? 609 236 845
Is the seat height adjustable? 785 61 846
Is the backrest angle adjustable? 607 238 845
Is the backrest height adjustable? 507 336 843
Is the seat pan angle adjustable? 515 328 843
Is the seat pan depth adjustable? 444 399 843
Does the backrest angle and seat pan angle lock into a fixed position? 639 203 842
Have you used these adjustable features? 686 156 842
Are you able to adjust your chair to support the way you would like to sit? 666 178 844

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Use of lumbar support when sitting in the chair most often used when working from home

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Chart data: Lumbar support

Answer Percentage Count
No 30% 303
Yes, lumbar support is built into the chair's backrest 55% 547
Yes, I use an external lumbar support device 6% 58
Yes, I used a rolled towel or pillow 6% 59
Yes, other 1% 13
I'm not sure, I don't know what lumbar support is 2% 19
Total 100% 999

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Use of workstations when working from home

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Chart data: Types of workstations used

Question Never Seldom Sometimes Often Always Total
At a traditional desk 278 61 77 211 370 997
At a make-shift desk (e.g., kitchen table) 427 208 139 100 116 990
At a sit-stand workstation (store bought) 694 33 53 80 131 991
At a sit-stand workstation (make-shift from books, boxes, etc.) 797 71 63 46 13 990
Not on a work surface (e.g., your lap) 604 198 110 60 18 990
Other work surface 600 44 25 15 25 709

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Average frequency of posture changes (e.g., changes from a seated posture to standing, walking, etc.) during the workday when working from home

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Chart data: Frequency of posture changes

Answer Percentage Count
Never 2% 22
1 to 2 times 10% 100
3 to 4 times 30% 299
5 to 6 times 26% 256
7 to 8 times 13% 128
More than 8 times 20% 195
Total 100% 1000

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Average time spent taking active breaks to move during the workday (e.g., stretching, walking, etc.) when working from home

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Chart data: Time spent taking active breaks

Answer Percentage Count
Never 4% 43
5 minutes or less 15% 148
6-15 minutes 25% 252
16-30 minutes 26% 263
31-60 minutes 21% 207
More than 60 minutes 9% 87
Total 100% 1000

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Frequency of pain experienced in different body regions during the pandemic

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Chart data: Frequency of pain

Question Never Rarely Occasionally Frequently Constantly Total
Neck 131 234 320 246 61 992
Shoulders 172 218 302 248 52 992
Arms 483 242 178 72 16 991
Wrists 368 238 254 96 35 991
Hands 493 224 171 76 27 991
Lower back 145 207 356 209 75 992
Middle back 312 242 273 132 30 989
Upper back 265 222 288 178 38 991
Legs/Ankles/Feet 446 233 197 83 31 990

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Severity of pain in each body region during the pandemic

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Chart data: Severity of pain

Question Mild Moderate Severe Prefer not to say Total
Neck 405 343 93 8 849
Shoulders 377 344 78 8 807
Arms 339 98 33 6 476
Wrists 365 163 59 10 597
Hands 308 104 41 10 463
Lower back 346 339 138 12 835
Middle back 376 210 53 11 650
Upper back 368 266 58 14 706
Legs/Ankles/Feet 312 147 45 11 515

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Work-related injuries/disorders during the pandemic

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Chart data: Work-related injuries/disorders

Answer Percentage Count
Yes, physical 10% 98
Yes, mental (cognitive) 10% 104
No 79% 811
Prefer not to say 2% 17
Total 100% 1030

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Body region(s) injured (physical injuries)

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Chart data: Body region(s) injured

Answer Percentage Count
Neck 16% 37
Shoulders 12% 28
Arms 9% 20
Wrists 14% 33
Hands 7% 16
Lower back 17% 38
Middle back 3% 8
Upper back 8% 18
Legs 6% 13
Ankles 2% 5
Feet 3% 7
Other 3% 7
Total 100% 230

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Were any workdays missed because of the injury?

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Chart data: Workdays missed because of injury

Answer Percentage Count
Yes 55% 95
No 45% 77
Total 100% 172

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Was the injury reported to the employer?

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Chart data: Injury reported to the employer

Answer Percentage Count
Yes 59% 102
No 41% 70
Total 100% 172

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Preferred frequency of working from home, post-pandemic

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Chart data: Working from home frequency preference

Answer Percentage Count
5 days per week 28% 282
4 days per week 18% 181
3 days per week 24% 242
2 days per week 17% 166
1 day per week 8% 76
None (I want to work on-site 100% of the time 5% 53
Total 100% 1000

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Reasons influencing the desire to continue working from home, post-pandemic

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Chart data: Reasons for desire to continue working from home

Answer Percentage Count
Transportation/commuting time 17% 732
Concerns with COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures in place 9% 377
Private working space 11% 474
Working schedule control/autonomy 15% 644
Quick access to people and resources 2% 104
Less interruptions/distractions 14% 615
Better work-life balance 17% 721
Family responsibilities/child support 7% 301
Reduced contact with the public (non-employees) 5% 195
Lack of mandatory vaccination policy 1% 39
Other 2% 73
Total 100% 4275