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A third of workers want a Covid-19 vaccine or antibody test before returning to the office

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

A survey by Canada Life has looked at the measures employees want to see before returning to the physical workplace.

Although four in 10 (41%) are feeling positive about getting back into the office, 28% are concerned about it – increasing to 36% among women.

Almost a fifth (17%) of workers think that despite the official government alert level dropping to three, it will be several years before working practices return to normal  – or they won’t ever go back to how they were before the pandemic.

A third (35%) of workers who have been working from home during lockdown want a vaccine or an antibody test before going back to the office.

Other measures they’d like to see implemented include routine temperature checks (18%), regular coronavirus testing in the office (21%) and physical changes like socially distanced desks (22%).

However, they would also like the option to work from home when they want to (31%), while a quarter (23%) want to be given the choice as to whether they return to the physical work environment at all.

Despite the fact that women are most looking forward to being out of the house again (26% vs 18% of men), female workers are generally more concerned about returning to the office than their male counterparts.

Looking at the positives

Despite the challenges of a return to the office environment, having access to teams and management (18%), getting back into a routine (16%), having fewer distractions (13%) and improved mental health (12%) are among the things workers are looking forward to returning to the workplace for.

Paul Avis, strategic proposition director at Canada Life, said: “Workers are unsurprisingly anxious about returning to the physical workplace. After such a long period of time working from home, many of us have developed new ways of working and fallen into new routines.

“And while lots of workers are looking forward to getting ‘back to normal’, many feel like the ‘new normal’ will never be the same as it once was. With the pandemic changing the way we’ve lived our lives over the past four months, I’m not surprised that some are understandably hoping for a vaccine or antibody testing before they get back into the workplace.

“But as anyone who may have spent the last few months working from a single bedroom flat will testify, a return to the workplace will come as a welcome relief alongside all the social benefits that brings. Concerns have been raised by psychiatrists that we face a tsunami of mental health issues and so a return to the workplace, noting work has been proven to be beneficial for mental health, will be welcomed by many who rely on the challenges of daily work and the social and support networks.”