Majority of employees believe hours will not change over next 3 months

Just over half of employees expect to continue to work as normal over the next three months, however, other workers such as black and minority ethnics (BME) and disabled expect to be either furloughed or made redundant after being furloughed.

This is according to research from Barnett Waddingham, professional services consultancy that found that 51 per cent of staff believe they will carry on working normal hours remotely. Disabled employees are twice as likely to expect to be made redundant, either immediately or after a period of furlough. With 21 per cent of BME employees predicting they will be made redundant compared to 13 per cent of white employees.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak is expected to make updates to the current furlough scheme this week.

The research found that 14 per cent expect to lose their jobs in the next three months.

Younger generations seem to be far more concerned regarding their job security as 36 per cent of 18-24-year-olds believe they will continue to work normally whereas 59 per cent of 45-64-year-old workers expect to carry on work as normal.

The size of a company also seems to have a big effect on how secure an employee feels. In smaller companies with 1-9 people working there, 42 per cent think they will be working normally. This number steadily rises as the company grows in size, with 43 per cent in those with 10-49 employees and 46 per cent in those with 50-200.

Peter Meyler, associate and head of workplace consultancy at Barnett Waddingham, said:

The UK Government in standing on the precipice of having to make and communicate some big decisions in the next few  days about how the UK is going to come out of the Covid-19 lockdown in a way that does the least damage to public health and confidence, societal cohesion, and of course the economy. We are now in an employment landscape that was unthinkable at the start of this year. Economic recovery is dependent on people getting back to normal/near normal work in healthy, refreshed, motivated and engaged states. Our research reinforces many will be far from that as they struggle mentally and financially to cope during this pandemic, with limited clarity about what the future might hold for them.

Financially, the Government has invested heavily in the Job Retention Scheme, and even with such comprehensive support, unemployment is still soaring. Has this scheme become the “Job Retention until-such-time-as-you-lose-your-Job Scheme”? Only time will tell. Employees are understandably anxious and disheartened, and even those currently in work are pessimistic about the next three months. Crucially, the issues are not just economic. The current situation is perpetuating, and even worsening, social inequalities, and it will be sad day if a crisis that initially brought the country together starts to drive it apart.

While employers have a swathe of concerns at the moment, it’s absolutely vital that employee communication, engagement, wellbeing and support does not get deprioritised. Good employers will continue to communicate clearly and comprehensively with their employees, and this will create longer-term loyalty and support from them. Those who let their people down and leave them to deal with the anxiety and stress alone are likely to see the effects go far past those directly caused by Covid-19.

These results were gathered by Censuswide, a research company for Barnett Waddingham by speaking to 2,017 UK employees.