Nervous About Returning to Work? You’re Not Alone

Source: Andriy Popov/123RF

Results of a recent survey show that 2 out of 3 people aren’t comfortable about going back to their workplace as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers – a finding that spans all generations of workers.

According to the study, overall, the American workforce is not confident about returning to the workplace: 2 out of 3 people said they would feel uncomfortable returning to the workplace right now.

Workers of all ages—from Boomers to Gen Z—are equally uncomfortable going back to work; more than 65% in every age group reported being uncomfortable returning to the workplace.

25% of respondents expect to return to the workplace in May and 28% more expect to by the end of June, while nearly half (48%) think they won’t go back until August or later.

To feel comfortable returning to the workplace, people want:

● Assurance from authorities: 63% want the CDC to say it’s safe, while half say their state and local officials saying the same would help;

● Effective medical interventions: A little less than half say a treatment (47%) or vaccine (45%) would make them feel safe returning.; and

● Safety policies: 47% say they want all employees to be required to wear masks, 45% said they want a no handshakes/hugs policy at work, and 38% said they want employees who travel for work or pleasure to be required to self-quarantine for 14 days afterward.

Other findings:

  • 69% of the respondents trust their employer to make the best decision on when they should return to work;
  • 74% want their work facility to be thoroughly and regularly cleaned and disinfected;
  • 63% want assurance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it’s OK to return;
  • 62% want employers to set strict policies on who can come into the workplace (e.g., barring anyone who is sick or has recently traveled);
  • 57% want facemasks to be made available; and
  • More than 60% want the options to maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet at work and wear a mask.

On April 23, the National Safety Council launched SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns, a comprehensive, multifaceted effort to guide employers through the process of safely resuming traditional work and operations in a post-COVID-19 environment.