What Hustle readers think about returning to work and life

Highlights from our recent survey.


May 6, 2020

You’re itching to get out of your house. You’re really looking forward to hitting up your favorite restaurant or watering hole.

But it’s going to be a loooong time before many of you are comfortable attending an event with lots of others around.

Those are just a few of the takeaways from last week’s survey of how Hustle readers feel about returning to work and life.

Here are a few highlights

~1,800 of you responded (whew! Thanks to everyone who did). A quick breakdown of the responses:

1️⃣ 37% of you said you’d feel comfortable returning to the workplace ASAP — the highest share of any venue we asked about.

2️⃣ Restaurants were next. 33% of you said you’d feel comfortable dining out ASAP, and another ~24% said you would in the next couple of months. 

  • In the words of Hunter D. of Boise, Idaho: “I just want to go to a restaurant and get a marg.”

3️⃣ You’re more divided on schools and traveling. 28% of you said you’d feel comfortable sending your kids back to school ASAP, but 19% of you said you wouldn’t until 2021 at the earliest. 

  • When it comes to traveling, 27% were in the ASAP crowd, while 22% are waiting ’til next year.

4️⃣ And you’re not feeling great about big events. 40% of you said you wouldn’t feel good about attending a large gathering (like a concert or sporting event) until 2021.

As more lockdowns lift, here’s what you’ll do first

We’re with reader Angel F. of New York, who wants to “run outside and yell, ‘I’m free, I’m free, thank God almighty, I’m free!’”

Then again, there may be downsides: Kelly H. of Pittsburgh says she’ll “cry because traffic will be back to normal and I’ll be back on my normal work schedule.”

Keri H. of Indianapolis put it simply: “GTL.” She’s kidding, she says, but “just as shallow: hair salon, nail salon and day spa.” 

She may be on to something, because Gym, Drinks, Haircut appears to be the new GTL. Kristin S. of Greensboro, North Carolina, just wants to “deal with the atrocity on the top of my head!”

What it’ll take to feel comfortable getting back to normal

A slice of readers said they’re ready to resume their routines.

  • Take Clint N. of Statesboro, Georgia, who wrote last week: “The only thing holding me back are the shelter-in-place orders our clients are dealing with. When they ramp back up, I plan to be on-site.”

But lots more of you mentioned one thing, again and again: You’ll need a vaccine first (it was cited 500+ times in ~1,700 responses to one of our questions).

Short of that, you said we need much stronger testing and tracing programs, plus evidence that new cases are waning — not fueling a big 2nd wave.

Doug C. of Atlanta was one of several readers to point out that the whole idea of “normal” is different now.

“This has changed everything for the near future and we are foolish to pretend otherwise,” he said. “Rushing back into ‘life as we knew it’ is not what we need to be doing. Let’s get beyond our selfishness for once and act with the common good in mind.”

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