People who have not had their Covid-19 vaccination have become a major barrier to employees wanting to return to the physical office. 

According to Infogrid, which is a platform for smart buildings, more than half the employees they spoke to are worried about seeing people at work who are not vaccinated. Meanwhile, 58 percent are worried about catching the flu.

 

What do workers want?

Workers told Infogrid that if they return to the office, they would like regular and thorough cleaning (47%) and hand sanitiser dispensers (38%). This is in addition to improved air quality to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (35%).

The poll of 2,000 UK employed adults who don’t normally work from home also found 57 percent of UK employees say the ‘healthiness’ of the working environment has a moderate or high impact on their physical wellbeing. 

Meanwhile, 55 percent say it has a moderate or high impact on their mental wellbeing.

However, most admit this is the case only since the Covid-19 variant first started to impact their lives.

 

Is hybrid, flexible or remote working the solution?

Meanwhile Tiger Recruitment research shows that 7 in 10 employees are still in the dark about their employer’s long-term remote working plans. 

It is warning that by delaying a decision, employers could be harming their chances of retaining talent.  

Tiger says workers who are in the dark about their employer’s future work plans are 33 percent more likely to resign within the year.

 

Keeping employees safe at work

The research shows crucial factors in the healthiness of the workplace environment include access to fresh air, well managed occupancy, regular cleaning services and access to workplace data including virus risk.  

More than half (58%) of those who left their workplace and have not yet returned agree they would feel more comfortable returning if their employer was using data to improve the ‘healthiness’ of the building. 

CEO at Infogrid, William Cowell de Gruchy said: “Employees are returning to the office, but their expectations have changed. Going back to the physical workplace is having an impact on the health and wellbeing of employees.”

He said employers need to make sure staff know they’re taking steps to lower the virus risk in shared office spaces.

Be flexible to keep your staff

 According to Tiger’s survey of more than 1,000 workers, being able to work more flexibly is the biggest positive to come out of the pandemic. Jobseekers say it is their number two priority in a new role, second only to salary.

Tiger’s research also shows that employees who are satisfied with their flexible working options are more likely to stay in their job. Eight in ten (81%) people who have no plans to jump ship say they are happy with the flexible working offered by their employer – versus only six in ten (64%) who intend to move on.

 

Not many companies want to be remote or hybrid after Covid restrictions lift

However, less than a third of workers say their company has announced permanent changes to its remote working policy in light of Covid-19. This is an 8% improvement on last year but means that 70 percent of people still don’t know what their employer’s long-term plans are.

Of those, more than one in ten (13%) fear that things will simply go back to how they were before the pandemic. As a result, 4 in 10 say they plan to leave their role within the next 12 months. 

Commenting on the findings, Tiger Recruitment CEO David Morel said employers should be transparent about whether they offer flexible working.

He called it the ‘holy grail’. “By dragging their heels, (employers are) giving staff a reason to search for a role that offers them greater certainty. They’re also making themselves less attractive to candidates, reducing the already limited talent pool.”