Top Concerns People Have When Returning to Work

Going to work will not be the same again. With the changing environment and the spread of coronavirus, people returning to work will face the burden of new challenges. Employees returning to work might have various concerns regarding their safety. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the organizations to assure their people regarding their safety and protection.  

In the past few months, coronavirus has been the talk of the town. The daily updates regarding how the virus has damaged human life are heartbreaking. No doubt, it is an emotional mindset for many employees as they seem uncertain as to how life after COVID-19 will appear.

The measures that are continuously being taken on the part of the government to mitigate the virus is noteworthy. The virus is seen rising on a higher level, and several companies have started to operate and want employees to resume work. 

POST COVID-19 SITUATION 

The rising number of coronavirus cases does not seem to stop. However, employers concerned about their business have started to open up. The post coronavirus pandemic situation will be a lot different from how previously organizations used to work. An added layer of hygiene and protection will now become mandatory to maintain for the prevention of the spread of the virus. 

The future of how employees will operate in office will see a major shift. The coronavirus pandemic will lead to a changing consumption pattern and consumer behaviour. Let us talk about the concerns that employees will encounter post returning to work amidst the coronavirus pandemic. 

A study conducted in the UK has found out that around 44% of employees are not keen on returning to work due to the risks of the growing rate of COVID-19 virus. Besides, about 33% of employees are scared while commuting to work for the spread of the dreaded virus. 

EMPLOYEE CONCERNS WHILE RETURNING TO WORK

Employees, no doubt, are returning to work even with underlying baggage of fear that they seem to carry. A common concern of employees would be to have a face-to-face communication. The rising concerns of people post returning to work might seem to be never-ending. Understanding the prime concerns will help employers in better addressing employee issues. 

The risk of contacting the coronavirus at workplaces depends upon how closely employees come in contact with other colleagues and secondly through the touching of contaminated surfaces and objects. Employers need to implement different hygiene policies depending upon the level of risk that the organization is exposed to that might vary from low risk to medium risk and eventually to high risk. 

Major Concerns

Percentage

Job Security

14%

Safety Concerns

11%

Family Health

6%

Child Care

4%

Source: Top 10 Employee COVID-19 Concerns Every Leader Needs to Understand

Job Loss 

The rising job cuts by organizations has instilled a fear among those employees returning to work. The rate of job cuts is more towards the higher side. Employees are confused about whether they should start looking for another job or return to their current one.

Workload

The lockdown situation forced businesses to shut down and seize their operations, leading to the piling up of large amounts of work. Hence, the pressure of completion of the tasks would make employees anxious since they might be required to do overtime. 

Safety 

The prime concern for a large percentage of employees would be their safety. A common question arising in the minds of the employees is how safe are organizations post COVID-19 reopening. Many employees would still prefer the option to work from home and be safe. 

Social Distancing 

 Another area of prime concern is related to the concept of Social Distancing. Maintaining social distancing at workplaces would be a big challenge due to the frequent interactions that are required at workplaces. Prime areas of concern would include attending office meetings, boarding public transportation for work, interacting with colleagues, and greeting them. 

Travel to Work 

Commuting to work is now considered to be another area of prime concern for employees. Employees who commute through public transport fear the potential risk of the virus spread. Organizations that require their employees to travel for business trips need to revise their travel policies with new rules, thereby keeping the safety of its employees at the topmost priority.

Employees might also fear the potential consequences of various concerns related to COVID-19 that includes being ill, placed under quarantine, not able to meet family and friends. Hence, it is the responsibility of the organization to ensure that employees' mental health is taken care of. 

However, employees should focus on taking preventive measures at all times that includes the following :

  • Wearing a mask whenever traveling to work or for business trips
  • Avoid a lot of business trips and make sure to limit traveling to domestic places only
  • Frequent washing of hands and carrying alcohol-based sanitizers all times
  • Maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others 

"The greatest asset of a company is its people." - Jorge Paulo Lemann (Co-founder, Banco Garantia)

BOTTOM LINE 

Employees returning to work should consider taking safety measures including regular sanitization of hands, maintaining social distancing, and wearing a mask at all times to prevent coronavirus. Businesses are cautiously entering the reopening phase, however, the majority of the workers compelled to return are still apprehensive about returning to work. Organizations need to plan regarding the new normal working patterns. 

It is now an added responsibility of the employers to ensure adequate hygiene facilities at the workplace. Employees will be more willing to return to work if the organization is more careful towards a better understanding of their employee state of mind. Organizations should not force their employees to return to work if they are not comfortable to do so. No pressure shall be imposed on employees to get them back in the office premises. 

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