Tuesday, 20 October 2020 15:18

Employees hesitant on returning to work post-COVID-19

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The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in just over half, or 51% of professionals who have been working remotely, not yet feeling safe and happy to return to their co-located workplace, according to a new survey.

Of the 3000 working professionals surveyed by recruitment company Hays, Western Australians are the most confident, with 73% of those who have worked remotely either already back in their co-located workplace or planning to return in the next three months.

But, those in Victoria are the least confident, with just 32% feeling safe and happy to return to their workplace.

The survey also found that 55% 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.”

The Hays survey was conducted in August 2020 and was completed by 4105 people, with 966 responding as employers and 3139 as working professionals.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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