From February 25 through March 2, Newsday surveyed 100 high-powered professionals from small, medium and large companies to find out what they think about returning to the office after leaving—and how those perceptions vary by age.
Conducted by ARISE Research on behalf of Navteq, here’s what they had to say:
People under 35 consider the experience a key part of the transition.
21.7% of employees age 18 to 34 consider it important that they return to the office. This is most true of those who left for personal reasons.
15.7% of those 35 and older consider it important that they return to the office. This is most true of those who left for personal reasons.
40.7% of employees 35 and older had a positive experience during their time off and with return to work.
Nothing can stop you when you’re on the job, but every year after returning to the office, the emotional toll of missing colleagues only grows.
18.7% of employees age 18 to 34 missed their coworkers a lot, regardless of the reason they left.
12.6% of employees age 35 and older felt the same.
17.6% of employees age 18 to 34 missed their coworkers a lot because they were demoted or replaced.
“I miss seeing my coworkers. Usually, when you work with the same people day in and day out, I think you almost get used to seeing them everywhere,” said Laura Fournier, senior editor at MSN.
“I love my coworker and it is hard to get ready for work because I don’t want to spend so much time alone. I am positive that I will be just as productive when I go back, but I miss everyone there.” – Jana Westerberg, corporate psychologist, Fuel PR
“When I returned I had mixed feelings. I had actually been a positive coworker when I left. I took time off to focus on myself, and this time was great. I knew some things I missed and I had the benefit of reflection as I learned what to put on and what to keep off.” – Molly McFadyen, public relations associate, Jellyfish Media
“When I left the office, I learned some things about myself, namely the importance of strength and resilience. As I relaunched my career, I needed to return to work with a stronger sense of my strengths and what I need to do to get ahead,” said Bruce Khoury, CEO and co-founder of Gas Powered Digital.
The Larger Picture
Employees over 35 reported less emotional pain than those under 35.
18.8% of employees age 35 and older reported having a negative experience during their time off. This is more true of those who left for personal reasons than those who left for professional reasons.
12.9% of employees over 35 reported that returning to work was almost impossible for them.
5.7% of employees aged 18 to 34 reported this.
“I find that my return to work has brought back memories of my past in the workplace, but it’s been such a great change,” said Amy Trachtman, founder and managing partner at American Industrial Media.
“The best part about my job is that I am working with people I care about, people who are experiencing the same things I was while being away.”
Other findings from the survey:
40.7% of those who have returned to work felt as if their work was on track when they returned.
33.8% felt as if they had success meeting goals.
30.2% said they had more responsibility than when they left.
19.2% reported that they feel more appreciated at work.
They did so with different backgrounds: men who had been away for personal reasons reported feeling more removed from work at home. Women returning from personal reasons reported feeling more relaxed and more confident at work.