In the coming days we will begin to see detailed “back to work” plans emerge for the UK and are sharing these early insights from a joint research project between Hubble HQ and ConcreteVC.
The data presented here considers office working which is relevant to most CEW members but we also will also offer guidance and resource around physical and online retail, the various aspects of manufacturing and fulfilment, events, education and training and beauty services as we move forward. These will be placed in the COVID-19 resource centre.
The question asked in this particular research to participants was what would make them “feel safer returning to the workplace” after the restrictions are eased and 20 potential suggestions were posited to participants, who were then asked to rank each dependent on whether they would make them feel 1) not at all safer, 2) a little safer, or 3) a lot safer. The measures were chosen for being feasible to implement in the foreseeable future by either office providers or employers.
Key takeaways are below:
• Staggered start and end times that allow employees to avoid the rush hour was the most popular measure that employers could implement.
• The commute and public transport is one of the biggest blockers for employees thinking about their return to work, particularly in busy cities.
• Formal WFH rotas/split shifts were also popular measures.
• Heavily revised corporate sick policies and minimum social distancing rules for meetings were considered moderately impactful.
• Flexible policies around remote working would be expected by many employees even once the crisis is over, with companies not adopting them being the outsiders.
• Many of the measures that would make office workers feel a lot safer were centred around more stringent hygiene protocols, notably:
– Daily antiviral cleans
– Supplies of masks, gloves and hand sanitisers
– Compulsory hand-washing on entrance
• Once available, compulsory coronavirus testing for entrants to an office building would make 89% of respondents feel safer.
• The following measures would make the majority of employees feel safer in some regard:
– Antimicrobial coatings on surfaces
– Antimicrobial air filtration
– Lower limits on lift capacities
• There was a general aversion to open-plan offices, given the increased risk of contamination, and 87% of respondents felt that increased boundaries between desks would make them feel safer.
• Many respondents anticipate a more ad-hoc approach to office usage in the future, with more people working remotely on a regular basis.
In the table below you can find the full list of proposed solutions, ranked by the percentage of respondents who voted with a 2 or 3 (i.e. they felt the measure would make them feel safer in some regard):