Work-life balance and commuting bigger concern than COVID-19 for return to office

Employees are most concerned about their work-life balance and their commute to work rather than the risk of COVID-19 if they return to the office.

This was found by e-days, a workforce intelligence platform, that 70 per cent of employees are more worried about the impact of returning to work will have on their work-life balance or their daily commute instead of potentially catching COVID-19, if they start working at the office again.

Morgan Stanley’s analysis found that over a third (34 per cent) of UK white collar employees have returned to the office, which is far less compared to our European counterparts. Nearly three-quarters (68 per cent) of white collar workers in France, Germany, Italy and Spain have returned to their workplaces.

This comes as Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, has said that there is no real reason for people not to return to the office as there is “little evidence” this is how COVID-19 is spread.  Mr Hancock said that the virus is mostly being spread by individuals meeting other groups of people at their homes.

Steve Arnold, CEO of e-days, said:

As more staff return to work, companies need to ensure the time employees do spend in the office is as stress-free as possible. This means being aware of what your staff member’s concerns actually are and how you can help address them. We have e-days customers already using the platform to register who is in the office and who is not, to help address concerns around social distancing. Building in more flexibility to where people do their best work, or making sure that those who like to start earlier or finish later are allowed to do so will also help. And with COVID-19 already restricting how employees spend their free time, managing annual leave to ensure a healthy work-life balance has never been more important.

Liz Beck, managing director and leadership coach at AspiringHR, was not surprised by these results and gave a stark warning to employers.

Ms Beck said:

Employers need to pay attention to these messages if they want to retain key talent; and they need to work hard to create processes and environments that make these adjustments possible.

This research was collected by e-days asking the views of 100 UK employees.