Both employees and employers are nervous about going back into the office according to new research by Breathe in collaboration with Posture People and HR Central, looking at the sentiment around returning to work after lockdown.
The research polled 482 senior business leaders and employees and found half (50.6%) will limit the number of people in the office to adhere to social distancing rules. Also, the research revealed a staggering 88% of respondents are not comfortable using public transport to commute in 2020.
There is clear anxiety around using public transport. For firms based in cities (a third of all UK SMEs are based in London), employers will have to carry out stringent risk assessments before re-opening co-working spaces and extend remote working arrangements
A full return to the office is unlikely to be a reality this year. That said, the impacts of extended remote working on mental health and company culture should be taken into consideration. Breathe’s Culture Economy report found that 1 in 5 (21%) employees surveyed quit their job due to poor workplace culture in 2019
Key findings from the report include:
- More than three-quarters (88%) of respondents are not comfortable using public transport to commute in 2020
- Almost three-quarters (70.6%) stated they are planning on returning their workforce back to the office in a phased, partial manner
- More than half of those surveyed (55.2%) are concerned about returning to work
- Half (50.6%) of the business leaders surveyed plan to limit the number of people in the office to adhere to social distancing rules
Jonathan Richards, CEO and co-founder of Breathe comments: “Our findings show a worrying picture whereby most people aren’t comfortable getting public transport at all this year, which is especially tricky for city-based firms. A full return to the office may not be possible at first, so businesses looking to introduce flexibility to the office environment are implementing rota systems to manage staff coming into the workplace. As we found in our Culture Economy report this year, 1 in 5 (21%) of employees quit their job due to poor workplace culture. This is why, whatever decision businesses make, they must ensure they are made with their people at the core.”
Rebecca Woolmington, Managing Director at HRCentral Limited adds: “As the UK moves out of lockdown and businesses reopen, they need an effective way to manage their people. Whether you are a pub that’s previously used Excel spreadsheets, a business preparing to open soon or an office that has to operate shifts for the first time, automating this task will save businesses time and hassle – enabling them to focus on rebuilding and growing the business.”