Now that every state has begun to ease stay-at-home restrictions in some form or another, many employers are beginning to make plans for bringing their employees back to the office. A recent survey of 745 American office workers from Workstat — a new data gathering initiative from Industrious and data science company Elucd — reveals that most people are looking forward to eventually returning to the office, with only one out five respondents saying that they were unlikely or not likely at all to return to the office.
In fact, the majority (60 percent) of workers are likely or very likely to go back to office as soon as they have the option to do so, with 27 percent — the second most popular response — saying that they have no concerns about returning to the office.
Below are some of the top concerns among those who have them — and what employers can do to address them.
The largest group of respondents (35 percent) are worried that others in their office could put them in danger. After all, even the most thoughtful physical distancing guidelines are ineffective if your colleagues don’t follow them.
To encourage compliance, it’s important that employers not only come up with their own health and safety policies, but also that they clearly communicate the reasons behind them and regularly solicit feedback so that there’s a forum to voice and address issues as soon as they crop up. It’s also critical to make these policies as easy to follow as possible. For example, at Industrious, signs have been placed throughout each location to remind people of the company’s enhanced health and safety measures and help members uphold them, by indicating what six feet looks like or the direction of traffic.
Taking Public Transit
Although more than a quarter of office workers are ready to get back to the office now, those who take public transportation are less likely to say so than those who don’t (11 percent vs. 29 percent), and more public transportation takers (35.5 percent) said that commuting was their biggest concern about returning to the office.
One solution? See if your employees can work at a location that’s closer to home, to lessen or eliminate the time they spend on public transportation. Industrious has more than 100 locations in more than 50 cities around the country — and members can work from each one. You could also offer a commute stipend to workers to offset the costs of taking car or ride-sharing service to and from the office instead of relying on subways, buses, and trains.
Employers’ Health-and-Safety Efforts
Nearly one in five workers (18 percent) are concerned about how their employers will help ensure their health and safety. If you’re not sure whether or not this applies to your company, the first step is to ask — put out an anonymous survey, hold an ask-me-anything call, or find another way to get a sense of what your employees’ concerns are.
Then, come up with a plan to address them. That might mean taking another look at your new health-and-safety policies. For example, you might decide to update the layout in your private office or suite to support distancing. Or, maybe you’ll decide to have employees work on alternating days, or with staggered start and end times, to reduce the number of people in an office at a given time. To support these kinds of measures, Industrious members receive a back-to-office kit with personal protection equipment and other helpful items.