Social Pulse Finds Most Workers Not Ready to Return to Office

By: Nicole Martin, MPH

August 19, 2021

Clarabridge Analytics
Text Analytics

Using Clarabridge Intelligent Scoring, companies can understand employee attitudes about “returning to the office.”

California ordered a statewide stay-at-home order on March 19, 2020, to address the growing concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] Additional states followed suit and non-essential businesses had to quickly transform their workforce into a permanent work-from-home model. After nearly a year-and-a-half into remote work, the possibility of returning to the office sparked an array of emotions for employees throughout the United States.

    Social Pulse title card for article finding Most Workers Not Ready to Return to Office
Date of Data Pull:  8/4/2021 2:28PM
Source: Twitter, API Connectors
Current Volume: 28,194
Date Range: June 1, 2021 to July 31, 2021 

As Labor Day approaches, offices continue to announce their return to the office policies. We collected Twitter conversations about “return to office” and scored them based on how prepared Americans felt about returning to in-person work.  Using Intelligent Scoring — a Clarabridge product which automatically scores unstructured feedback such as text — we ranked tweets from 0% ready to 100% ready to go back to the office.

The Findings

Intelligent Scoring relies on creating a rubric to score a conversation. When creating a rubric, we took into consideration the various elements, both positive and negative, employees face when reconciling with in-person work. Our rubric incorporates four themes: Socialization, Productivity, Culture and Balance. Each category is worth 12.5 points, with each theme worth a total of 25 points. The themes include one category representing excitement about returning to the office and one representing being unenthusiastic for a total of eight categories[1] . When an individual does not discuss disinterest in returning to the office (unexcited to return) the tweet automatically receives 12.5 points since it is neutral.

Figure 1: Topic Breakdown of Negative and Positive Attitude Categories

to the Office Categories

to the Office Categories





Remote Work
is Productive


Office Will Be
More Productive





Remote Work Builds
Office Culture


Remote Work Destroys
Office Culture





Work From Home Makes
Life More Balanced


Work From Home Destroys
Work Life Balance





Anxious About Socializing


Excited to See Peers


If a document mentions nothing positive (excitement) and nothing negative (unexcited), the tweet will reflect its base score of 50%, indicating a neutral sentiment towards returning to the office. A document can receive additional points or a “bonus” if they mention one of the four themes in a positive light. For example, excited to socialize in the office would receive a positive socialization score, giving the document a score of 62.5 points (50 + 12.5). A score of 100 is the maximum score a document can receive, indicating 100% ready to return to the office.



Figure 2: Readiness to Return to Office

Readiness to Return to Work Score Chart

Above shows the average “Readiness to Return to the Office” score across collected Tweets within Clarabridge. Week over week changes in the score reflect shifting public attitude toward returning to office life. Neutral Attitudes toward Return to Office Indicate a Score of 50. The graph above shows that overall attitudes toward “Return to Office” are negative.

COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the United States due to the Delta variant, posing a threat to return to office polices. Clarabridge’s Natural Language Understanding capabilities provides the functionality to overlay phrases, including “Delta” and “COVID variant” onto different graphics. Below showcases how conversations about the Delta variant shift the scores of Readiness to Return to Office.

Figure 3: Readiness to Return to Office with Delta Variant Mentions

Graph shows how “Readiness to Return to Office” declines with mentions of the Delta variant.

Graph above shows how “Readiness to Return to Office” declines with mentions of the Delta variant.

“Readiness to Return to the Office” conversations scored an average of 38% readiness. However, when overlaying a filter for mentions of the Delta variant, conversations on average scored a readiness of 32%. In the final week of July, the conversations including the Delta variant dropped to 29% readiness.

COVID-19 continues to play an integral role in how businesses and consumers interact with their environments. Intelligent Scoring provides companies an opportunity to rank changes in society and opinions. With Clarabridge’s Intelligent Scoring, businesses can create categories to explore perceived concerns or questions and explore their impact on brands. By defining scores based off these categories — such as concerns about productivity and remote work — organizations no longer need to guess “where the pulse is.”

Outputs from Intelligent Scoring give explanations to employees, customers, and executives on the “status” of company emotions. Capabilities including text filters allow individuals to quickly assess the impact of “breaking news” or incoming concerns. With an ever-changing definition on the “new normal,” monitoring conversations about returning to the office using Intelligent Scoring provides companies the opportunity to make the best decisions for their employees and customers.

Up Next:
As vaccinations rise throughout the United States and the economy reopens back to normal, understanding how consumer behavior has shifted will serve as an essential tool for customer experience teams. I will continue to explore the changes in consumer demands and the continuous impacts of COVID-19 on customer experience.

[1] AJMC Staff. (2021, January 1). A timeline of COVID-19 developments in 2020. AJMC.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Nicole Martin currently works on the Clarabridge Strategic Consulting Team. Prior to Clarabridge, Nicole received her Master of Public Health in Epidemiology from The George Washington University. During her time at GW, Nicole wrote her graduate paper on sexuality, sexual behavior, and mental health. In addition, Nicole taught as a Graduate Assistant for the Biostatistics Department at The George Washington University. During her time at Clarabridge, Nicole has worked with healthcare accounts to enrich their analytic capabilities, created customer journey maps for property and casualty insurance companies, and continued to support innovation for clients across various industry verticals.

Social Pulse series title image

Clarabridge has embarked on an independent research project to actively analyze the “emotional pulse” of social media users worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. The effort’s main goal is to assess how people are feeling using Clarabridge’s Natural Language Understanding to glean insights from millions of unstructured data records. We hope to inform the public, provide insights to the scientific community and educate Clarabridge customers. The analyses in this series leverages Twitter data collected beginning March 12th using keywords such as “coronavirus,” “covid19”, and “covid-19” from Twitter. We continue to refine data collection and models as the situation evolves.

The Social Pulse Series Archive 
Clarabridge COVID-19 Command Center 

Questions about Coronavirus? Check out the following:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Directory of Local Health Departments