It’s no secret that Americans have been leaving their jobs in record numbers as their priorities shift in a post-pandemic world. We wanted to find out what was fueling the hesitancy to return to work and to public spaces as a whole, so we set out to learn just that. Our survey revealed that 74 percent of North Americans feel anxious when entering spaces with poor indoor air quality. This heightened anxiety has led to a shift in priorities for many adults who work, learn and operate in indoor spaces.  

Read on to discover more of our findings. Our insights provide context around where businesses should be investing their resources to create smarter, healthier spaces moving forward.


The Great Resignation

Roughly 33 million North Americans quit their jobs since Spring 2021. Economists and employment experts have dubbed this mass exodus, “The Great Resignation.” Our recent survey of 3,000 U.S. and Canadian adults discovered that 76 percent of North Americans would consider joining this “Great Resignation” if wellness factors such as work, life and health balance, indoor air quality, hygiene and cleanliness, mental health support and access to green space or plants were not provided by their employers. 

“As we continue to struggle with consequences of COVID-19, and as employees gradually return to workplaces and general public spaces, it is clear priorities have shifted with health, safety and wellbeing at the forefront of concerns,” said Matt Hayas, Director of Product and Innovation at Ambius. 

The survey also found that 69 percent of people said their workspaces need better investment in health, hygiene and safety, while 62 percent said the same about restaurants and retail. This increased emphasis on smarter, healthier public spaces is underlined by the fact that 73 percent would consider paying higher prices for products and services if the environment had better air quality and health and safety measures than the cheaper alternative.


The mental health impact of work

It is clear the environment of public spaces plays a critical role in people’s mental health and wellness, with 57 percent of North Americans placing a higher value on work, life and health balance since the start of the pandemic. 

One in two North Americans also noted feeling fogginess and tiredness at the end of their workday at present. Whether this is due to workload, general balance or environmental factors, it demonstrates the increasing awareness people have of how their work impacts their overall mental health.

Improvements in physical workspaces

For those in physical workspaces, the survey results show how 70 percent think their workplace air quality certainly needs improving, and 39 percent describe their current condition as either average, poor or bad. 

“Based on our research, the data shows that people everywhere are keen for investment in smarter, healthier spaces in all walks of life,” said Hayas. “They want better air quality, green space provision and overall support when it comes to mental and physical health. All of these areas will be essential for current and future employees, as well as everyone entering public or leisure spaces, with people wanting to feel safe and in healthy environments wherever they go.”

To find out more about the study, visit our website.