2 out of 3 Employees are Uneasy About Returning to Work
A recent survey of over 2,000 Americans found that 2 out of 3 people aren’t comfortable with the idea of going back to the workplace. These results hold across all generations, as more than 65% of people in each group reported being uncomfortable with the idea. So, what do companies do with this information as they begin to transition back to office life?
The answer is simple: listen to your employees and form a plan for returning that everyone is on board with.
Employee Expectations for the Present
From Apr. 27 – 28, 2020, the software company Qualtrics conducted this survey. They asked basic questions to find out how confident Americans feel about returning to their workplace or visiting public establishments. Qualtrics also asked what it would take for them to feel comfortable returning to work and going out in public.
Respondents were split as to whether things would ever return to how they were before the pandemic. 52% thought things would return to normal while 48% did not. They were also split as to when they expected to return to the office.
- 24% expected to return in May.
- 28% expected to return in June.
- 48% expected to return in August or later.
Issues of the safety of returning to work – both for themselves and for their families – are at the forefront of employees’ minds.
What Employees Want from You
In the survey, employees reported what their employer could do to make them feel better about returning to the office. Implementing these changes could be a step toward returning to normal which will make both employers and employees happy.
Before returning to work, survey respondents reported they wanted their company to have:
- 74% – A work facility that has been and will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected regularly.
- 63% – Consulted with local and state authorities who say it is safe to return to work.
- 62% – Set strict policies regarding who can come into the office.
- 57% – Masks available for all employees.
Before returning to work, they want the option to:
- 64% – Wear a mask.
- 61% – Maintain social distancing at work.
- 50% – Have more flexible sick leave policies that employees are encouraged to use when they have even minor symptoms.
- 49% – Limit the number of people in workplace meetings.
- 43% – Have their temperature checked each day before entering the building.
Before returning to work, they want their company to ensure the following of their coworkers:
- 74% – Hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies are available at all times and are utilized frequently throughout the day.
- 57% – All employees are required to wear a mask at all times.
- 50% – Social distancing will be implemented and enforced at work.
There are many good suggestions for changes to implement in your workplace from these results. Some of the recurring suggestions, such as requiring employees to wear masks in the office and maintaining social distancing measures at work, are easy things to incorporate into office life.
Studies like this are helpful to get a general idea of how people feel, but they don’t speak for everyone, so be sure to connect with your employees. Your employees will have valuable insight into this and could provide other suggestions than the ones listed here.
- “COVID-19 pandemic: Most people uneasy about returning to work, survey finds.” Safety + Health, 12 May 2020.
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