As COVID-19 Lockdowns Stretch On, Technologists Remain Upbeat

As we begin June, millions of technologists across the nation have firmly settled into their work-from-home roles—and at some prominent companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, they’re planning on working remotely on a permanent basis. Meanwhile, other technologists, especially those who work in hardware and datacenters, are either returning to the office or planning how to do so (safely) in the near future.

As we examine the latest data from Dice’s ongoing COVID-19 Sentiment Survey, which analyzes technologists’ opinions on everything from their sense of job security to how well they think their employers are handling the nationwide lockdowns, it’s worth recalling how varied the COVID-19 situation has become nationwide. Some states have lifted their lockdowns on many businesses and services; others, such as New York City, haven’t quite reached that point.

The first time we conducted this survey, we found that technologists were generally optimistic about the circumstances surrounding the lockdown, which at that point was a relatively new phenomenon. Those sentiments changed relatively little during the survey’s second round, taken two weeks later. During the third round, we found that technologists were settling in well to working from home, and that they remained positive about how their companies were handling the crisis.  

Now, two weeks after our third round concluded, we have the fourth round of our survey. Are technologists keeping upbeat? And how do they feel about the prospect of returning to the office?

Are you going into the office for work?

It’s clear that more technologists are heading back into the office on a full-time basis, while fewer are doing so part of the time. A declining percentage are also “never” going back in. We hope those companies are following effective strategies for keeping offices safe and sanitary.

How safe do you feel working in the office?

A rising percentage of technologists also feel safer about going back into the office. This is good news, especially since a declining number of them feel very unsafe about returning back to their old desks. For as long as we’ve been conducting this survey, technologists have held their employers’ response to this crisis in high esteem; it seems they’re also trusting their managers to create the safest possible workplace environment for them when lockdowns are lifted. 

How much do you like working from home?

Although more technologists are heading back into the office, a large percentage of them also enjoy working from home. Yes, the percentage of those who dislike this remote work has risen somewhat over the past few weeks, but they constitute a small “slice” of the overall pie—and the substantial majority of technologists remain comfortable with logging in from the home office

The weighted average of those who like working from home, as viewed across the entirety of our surveys, has remained pretty stable:

How much has your workload increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Workloads have remained relatively stable for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. That’s both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, it means that many technologists who started out with relatively normal workloads haven’t seen a radical increase in their tasks over the past few months; on the other, many of those who report an increased workload haven’t seen much of a decrease over that period, either. 

The weighted average reinforces that things haven’t changed substantially when it comes to workload for most technologists:

How impressed have you been with your company’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

In general, technologists remain impressed with how their companies have responded to COVID-19. That’s heartening, because it shows that managers and executives have continued to listen to employee concerns throughout the duration of this crisis. As more businesses reopen, it will be interesting to see if these percentages undergo a radical shift; but as our earlier question indicated, technologists feel pretty safe so far with regard to re-openings. 

The weighted average for this question hasn’t shifted much for the duration of our survey period, showing that management is consistently addressing technologists’ issues with regard to the pandemic:

How much job security do you have?

Over the four iterations of our survey, we’ve seen the percentage of those who feel most secure about their jobs fluctuate somewhat; for example, those giving their security a top rating (i.e., “5”) dipped significantly between our survey’s third and fourth iteration after rising between the second and third. Overall, though, the majority of technologists seem at least somewhat assured about their job security. 

The weighted average of those feeling secure about their jobs has gradually declined over the entire survey period, although not by very much in the grand scheme of things. As the pandemic grinds on, it seems that many technologists are feeling a natural nervousness about the state of the economy; however, this number hasn’t nosedived, showing that overall technologist sentiment remains relatively strong despite the economic conditions.

Have you already, or do you plan to start looking for a new job in the next two weeks?

Among technologists who are employed full-time, two-thirds remain consistently determined to stay in their role, which makes sense: During uncertain times, there’s a natural inclination to hunker down and ride things out. The other third of technologists, though, perhaps senses some opportunity out there, and they’re seeking a new role that’s potentially a better fit for their skills.  

Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed what you think is important in a job? 

With every passing month of the COVID-19 pandemic, technologists seem to consistently attach major importance to a handful of things, including remote work (naturally), job security (of course), and their company’s response to the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, they’re also pretty consistent in what they consider less important about their jobs, including their colleagues (again, natural, considering everyone works from home) and their ability to be creative in their work (many are focused on simply getting the work done, especially if their workload as spiked): 

Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed how connected you feel to others?

This is another question where the percentages haven’t shifted very much during our reporting periods. Many technologists feel more connected to their families, and not quite as attached to colleagues.

Those reporting a lesser connection to friends, family, and colleagues has stayed remarkably consistent throughout our survey, even as work-from-home situations have extended for months: 

Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center, which aims to provide the tech community with the best, most up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus.