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17 Pulse survey questions to ask before reopening the office

July 22, 2021 - 8 min read


Offices are cautiously starting to reopen and HR leaders need to help their people adapt to the new normal. With companies like Twitter and Slack offering employees full-time remote working conditions and employees worldwide having to adapt to different working situations, the equation becomes more complicated.

After 3 months of the biggest remote working experiment ever conducted on a global scale, and as global pandemic restrictions loosen up, the world is cautiously starting to reopen.

The gradual transition into the 'new normal' is yet another time of immense change that may feel scary to some and exciting to others.

This brings the challenge for HR teams to create transition plans, considering when and how to reopen offices. The guidelines of working have shifted for many organizations - full-time or part-time remote is now becoming a reality from many companies. Companies like Twitter and Slack have empowered their employees with the option to choose where they want to work from and reassured them working full-time remotely is a possibility. These shifts are due to employees embracing and experiencing the benefits of flexible working conditions.

The best way to find out how your employees are feeling about returning to work - ask them!

This is Part 7 of our Remote Work & COVID-19 Response Series looking at how organizations are planning to transition to the new normal and how Impraise supports you in doing so. In case you missed it, last week we shared 7 areas in which employees should be encouraged to ask for feedback.

What are the benefits of using Pulse Surveys

Pulse Surveys help People teams, Leadership and Managers to get actionable insights into your people's wellbeing and performance.

They also provide employees the chance to voice their state of mind, concerns, and contribute to improvements in how they work remotely.

Just as the last couple of months have been a rollercoaster ride of challenges, learning, and adapting to remote work, the next period will bring new new obstacles. Pulse surveys provide employees with a channel to share their thoughts and ideas, so as an organization you can adapt quickly, optimizing for motivation, engagement, and productivity.

4 tips to run an effective Pulse survey

Our 4 tips on how to run an effective Pulse survey are grounded in real-life learnings from our customers using the Pulse survey feature in Impraise since March 2020. For a full rundown of how to create effective Pulse Surveys, check out our article on doing so.

1. Keep it short and sweet

Use a limited number of questions (4-7 closed, 1-2 open questions) so people can complete it quickly.

2. Leave the survey open for 2-3 days

Circumstances are changing very quickly, which requires fast actions from HR and Leadership. This shows decisiveness, care, and agility which will in turn build trust, motivation, and performance.

We always see an initial peak in survey participation at the beginning and a large peak close to the deadline. Keep the survey open for only 2-3 days and you will get the insights you need without compromising on participation rates.

3. Gain leadership buy-in

Circumstances are changing very quickly, which requires fast actions from HR and Leadership. This shows decisiveness, care, and agility which will in turn build trust, motivation, and performance.

We always see an initial peak in participation at the beginning and a large peak close to the deadline. Keep the survey open for only 2-3 days and you will get the insights you need without compromising on participation rates.

4. Over-communicate

Communicate why employees need to participate and what they will get out of it. For example: “As we transition out of a Remote only approach, this is your chance to contribute to what our new normal looks like”

Communicate to managers what is expected from them when the results of the survey are shared. Let them know they should reach out to individuals with low(er) scores ASAP, using the insights from the survey as a conversation starter to help build trust with their team.

Leadership should communicate the organization-wide actions that will be taken as a result of the responses received.

17 example questions to ask your people

We know you are busy so we’ve included example Pulse survey questions you can use to gauge how employees are feeling about transitioning back to office-based work, productivity, and the highest priority areas to address.

1. Personal situation: Please evaluate on a scale of 1 to 10 how easy or difficult remote working is for you? (1 = very easy; 10 = very difficult)

2. Productivity: Do you feel that you are more, equally, or less productive working from home? (multiple-choice: more/equally/less)

3. Office preferences: Would you like to return to the office in the near future? (multiple-choice: yes/no)

4. Office preferences: If yes, how many days a week would you like to work from the office?
(multiple-choice : 1-5)

5. Office preferences: What sort of measures would you like to see implemented for you to work from the office? (open-ended answer)

6. Office preferences: Is there any reason you would not want to work from the office? (open-ended answer)

7. Personal situation: Do you have any health issues that put you in the vulnerable category as per government guidelines? (open-ended answer)

8. Personal situation: Do you look after an individual that is classed as vulnerable per the Government guidelines? (multiple choice: yes/no)

9. Personal situation: Do you live with anyone over the age of 70? (multiple choice: yes/no)

10. Personal situation: Do you require child care for your children? (multiple choice: yes/no)

11. Personal situation: Do you have adequate child care options? (open-ended answer)

12. Personal situation: Do you use public transport to travel to work (yes/no)

13. Support: What is one thing our company could do right now to better support our people during this time? (open-ended answer)

Post-Corona questions to add into the mix

14. Work situation: How would you best describe your ideal working situation in relation to where you work and how you collaborate with others? (open-ended answer)

15. Work situation: How many days per week would you ideally work from the office post-Corona? Do you have a preference for which days of the week and if so, why? (open-ended answer)

16. Office work: What office-based activities would add the most value for you? For example: focus work, calls, 1:1s, team meetings, circle meetings, all-hands meetings, etc. (open-ended answer)

17. Office work: Are there certain team meetings/activities you think should be mandatory in-person? If so, which one(s), explain why and let us know the frequency and - if applicable - the preferred day. (open-ended answer)

Conclusion & next steps

Pulse Surveys are a must-have to get real insights into how your people are feeling, and how you can support their needs in such difficult and changing times. You can set these up relatively quickly using tools like TypeformSurvey Monkey or Google Forms, although there can be a lot of manual work gathering results – depending on the size of your company and the questions you ask. If you have the time, or there is no budget for additional tools, then these can serve you well in the beginning.

If you want to put yourself in a position where you're not only gathering deeper insights about the needs of your people, but you also have the tools available to drive actionable changes based on the responses – there are tools available today that support you to do exactly this. Explore the opportunities available to you for building high performing and engaged remote teams – today.


Published July 22, 2021

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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