The Four COVID Personas, Part 4: ‘Office Shifters’

work from home

Over months of research in which we surveyed more than 18,000 U.S. consumers, PYMNTS has identified four distinctly new shopper personas emerging from the pandemic fog. All four of the post-COVID personas are fascinating in their own ways, but the “office shifter” is unique.

Terms like “hard-working,” “adventurous” and “unafraid” can all describe this new consumer. They emphatically embrace “digital everything” like the most COVID-fearing of consumers, yet pine for a return to professional life and all of its trappings — from business travel to dining out to almost acting as if coronavirus never happened.

PYMNTS’ COVID-19 report series began in March as population lockdowns and bad news dominated the headlines. In The Great Reopening: Shifting Preferences edition, we described “office shifters” as “consumers who have shifted to working from home and want to go back to being outdoors and working in office environments.”

These are the fearless ones, tired of talking to the cat. When it comes to the pandemic’s digital shift, these folks are more likely than any other cohort to both return to pre-pandemic routines while also retaining their favorite COVID habits, like digital shopping.

“Office shifters plan to use digital shopping options more than other consumers after the pandemic has passed,” The Great Reopening: Shifting Preferences noted. And they’re “the most likely to say they will keep shopping online, using mobile order-ahead, ordering food from online aggregators and ordering food from restaurants once daily life returns to normal. Our research shows 75.7 percent of this group who are now using mobile order-ahead more often plan to continue doing so.”

To take advantage of all the world has to offer — COVID be damned — “office shifters” have been working remotely for what feels like an eternity, and now they want back recognizable routines.

“Office shifters who currently work remotely more often than they did before are the most likely to want to leave their homes, with 40 percent saying they are ‘very’ or ‘extremely interested’ in doing so,” per our report. Consumers who are ordering from restaurants online more often, whom we refer to as “convenience shifters,” are the second-most eager, with 39.3 percent ‘very’ or ‘extremely interested’ compared to 36.1 percent of all U.S. consumers. This makes both office and convenience shifters more likely than the average consumer to be interested in going back out into the world.”