Nearly the entire workforce prefers a return to the office if a COVID-19 vaccine is established.
This was found by Office Space in Town (OSiT), who offers businesses and individuals flexible workspace solutions, that 95 per cent of employees would favour a return to the workplace if a COVID-19 vaccine was made. More than half (59 per cent) of these workers do desire more flexibility when they do return though.
The mass adoption of remote working has led to some issues, such as 29 per cent stating they have a lack of suitable equipment and 60 per cent claiming they have endured neck pain and back pain (55 per cent) due to working from home.
Remote working has also caused issues with staff’s wellbeing as 29 per cent said they have felt lonely whilst working at home. As well as a quarter (25 per cent) feeling anxious, 37 per cent also claimed that their work and home life were blurring in to one.
Staff have revealed what they want in place for when they do return to work, 60 per cent said they want extra cleaning measures in place, 52 per cent want both social distancing implemented and the availability of face masks and gloves.
Only 5 per cent of employees wish to be working remotely on a full-time basis once a vaccine is developed. The main benefit of remote working seems to be the avoidance of a commute with 72 per cent of employees saying this.
The survey results show that, given the chance, people would significantly prefer to be in the office. It seems that working from home is neither a sustainable option for the majority of people nor for their employers. We thrive on the water cooler moments, in-person collaboration and development opportunities cultivated in the physical office, where a professionalised environment fosters productivity and community.
The potential cost of permanent remote working to workers’ wellbeing and health is also concerning, with these results indicating issues from a lack of dedicated space and suitable working equipment to the mental health impact of blurred work-life boundaries, which are not simply going to disappear in the longer term.
As we all look ahead to getting back to the office safely, employers and office providers should remember they have a responsibility to ensure people feel comfortable to return to work. The steps unveiled in this survey offer a simple, realisable roadmap for this – provide a clean environment and offer flexible hours to encourage people back to the office and back to normality. It’s what the majority of workers want – so, let’s deliver it for them.