Research from e-days the absence management company has found that many in the UK do not want to return to their place of work. It recently surveyed 100 people to find out whether they wanted to return to the workplace. 60% of respondents are reluctant or unsure about returning to the office.
This figure is not surprising and shows that companies need to seriously consider if, when and how they bring their employees back into the workplace. For services companies that can leverage cloud software, this is easier than those organisations, such as retail, hospitality and manufacturing that need a physical presence at their locations.
Business leaders are running out of time. The UK Government advice will change from August 1st. On that date, employers need to decide how and where their staff can work safely. The decision is looming as the furlough scheme, while extended to October, is being phased out from August. The government expects employers to contribute some of the 80% of salary employees are receiving.
The second challenge
Another recent Pulse survey highlighted a second challenge for organisations. Over the last few weeks, employees have accrued holiday. Traditionally, many of those holidays are taken between July and September. E-days found that 62% of people intend to use holiday in the second half of the year. With many holiday destinations still closed, it raises the question of whether people will delay holidays until the restrictions ease.
Critically, the survey also found that 29% of employees do not intend to book a holiday at all. This could lead to a build-up of holiday debt. Organisations will need to consider how they deal with this. Those with cashback schemes need to consider the implications to cash flow in an already tough year. There is also the risk of employee burnout. People are already working longer hours, without taking a holiday this increases the risk. A survey by Irish recruitment platform IrishJobs.ie found that 40% are working longer hours. Perhaps of greater concern is that 21% said they could not switch off from work.
Steve Arnold, CEO of e-days, commented: “There are significant challenges ahead for businesses as we move towards the next ‘return to work’ stage. Employees will find it difficult to change behaviours and mindsets, not to mention process changing government advice.
“These sentiments reveal a need for leaders to proactively manage leave planning and be aware of wellbeing during this time, so they can ensure resourcing levels as well as productivity and a happy workforce.”
While the survey polled only a small number of people, its findings should prompt business leaders to check that they are ready for August 1st and beyond. Many organisations across the world are facing similar challenges. There is a dilemma for many, employees want to return to work, but they also want to remain safe. Some may find it hard to travel to work safely, others may feel that companies need to ensure social distancing is in place at their workplace. Others living with sheltered relatives might prefer not to take any risk at all.
Some companies may have a choice, properly deployed; there is technology available that can help organisations enable effective home working. For those companies that have furloughed many of their staff, they need to rapidly plan how they can return their employees to work safely.