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Re-Entry Anxiety: 51% Of Employees Aren’t Comfortable Returning To The Workplace

Just over half (51 per cent) of professionals who have been working remotely do not yet feel safe and happy to return to their co-located workplace, according to a survey of more than 3,000 working professionals by recruiting experts Hays.
Of these, Western Australians are the most confident, with 73 per cent of those who have worked remotely either already back in their co-located workplace or planning to return in the next three months.
At the other end of the spectrum, those in Victoria are the least confident, with just 32 per cent feeling safe and happy to return to their workplace.
Meanwhile, 55 per cent of professionals surveyed say they have worked from home during this crisis.
“There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has forced a significant upswing in the number of people who have been able to work remotely,” says Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand.
“But a new dilemma for employers is that of staff who are afraid to return to their co-located workplace. With the virus still in circulation, employers who call their staff back to work may find that their employees are not comfortable returning.
“The potential for new waves of infections is certainly very real, therefore even employers who have started transitioning staff back to the workplace find that social distancing and therefore flexible working arrangements will likely need to remain in place until more is known about COVID-19.
“Given this, employers need to focus on ensuring managers are equipped with the skills they need to lead a hybrid team.
“It’s also important to make sure employees feel they can work effectively in such a setup. Communicate regularly, be transparent, offer flexibility and provide ongoing feedback to make hybrid team working a success.”
Hays’s survey was conducted in August 2020 and was completed by 4,105 people. Of these, 966 responded as employers and 3,139 were working professionals. The full results can be found in the new Hays Barometer Report, available here.
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