The coronavirus crisis spawned yet another crisis — fear among the nation’s workers that as the pandemic continues to rage across the county, it could be hazardous to their health to return to offices, factories, and other places of employment.

According to the results of the Envoy Return to Work Survey that was released today, 73% of Americans are afraid of putting their personal health and safety at risk by returning to the workplace, with 75% saying they would consider quitting their jobs if the Covid-19 prevention measures by employers were inadequate or inappropriate. Workers in the business or tech services are more likely to consider leaving their job than those in the construction, manufacturing, retail or service industries.

Companies Need To Listen

Larry Gadea, founder and CEO of Envoy, said that “to consider quitting one’s job in a downward trending economy is quite a serious thing, which tells us is that health concerns are incredibly serious to employees — more so in fact than job security—and companies need to really listen to what their employees are saying in this report, in order to assuage their concerns and ensure proper safety precautions are taken.”

“Envoy’s Protecting the Workplace study offers crucial insights into employee sentiment around returning to the office — these insights should be on employers’ minds as they build their strategy to reopen workplaces,” according to Sal Mani, global director for technical security programs at Ripple, a payment technology company.

“Employees need to feel like their employer is taking the risks of Covid-19 seriously and is doing so with tools and systems built specifically for this purpose. This includes following established CDC safety guidelines of course, but also investing in workplace technologies that ensure capacity management, touchless entry, workplace eligibility, and more,” Mani said.

Most Workers Miss Their Workplace

Their concerns notwithstanding, 90 percent of workers miss their workplace. Most miss their friends and teammates (47%), perks such as lunch and snacks (36%), and small talk at the coffee machine or water cooler (31%). Slightly more workers — 94% of those polled — said they want to spend at least one day a week in the office.

The survey indicates that some employers need to do a better job ensuring that the workplace is safe to come back. Of those who returned to their place of employment, 42% said they experienced preventive measures that were either ineffective or not enforced, including six-foot distancing measures (25%), mask requirements (21%), and hand washing requirements (18%).

Additional survey results are available on Envoy’s website by clicking here.

The Need To Adopt New Technologies 

“The data tells us that employees do want to return to the workplace, but they want to come back to one that takes better care of them and puts their health and safety at the forefront,” Gadea said. “In order for companies to reopen safely and quickly, they’ll need to adopt technologies that create a more dynamic and responsive workplace that meets the needs of its workers so that employees can return to the office confidently,” he said.

Envoy was prompted to conduct the survey, according to Gadea, after they started to receive questions from customers on how to safely reopen the workplace almost as soon as the pandemic began. “It was such a pressing question that we felt it would be incredibly useful for all companies and corporate decision makers to have a clear pulse on what employees are feeling in order to help them make better, more informed decisions about the best approach to reopening,” he said.

This is the second time Envoy has surveyed employees about workplace-related issues. Their State of the Office 2019 Workplace Report found that the physical workplace plays a large role in how people feel about the work they do each day.

How The Survey Was Conducted

The Envoy Return to Work Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 U.S. full and and part-time employees age 18 years of age and above between August 27 and September 1, 2020, using an email invitation and an online survey. Envoy said the data was weighted to ensure an accurate representation of full time and  part-time employees in the US, age 18 years of age and above. The margin of error was 3.1 percent.

Source: Forbes