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5 health and safety stats workplace leaders should know before reopening

Reopening your workplace? There are two things you can’t afford to overlook: health and safety. Gone are the days when showing up to work sick earned someone a badge of honor. Not even the slightest sniffle will fly in the workplace nowadays. 

Envoy recently partnered with Wakefield Research to see how employees feel about returning to the workplace. We learned that people are eager to get back, but they’re concerned their employers will relax their pandemic safety measures too soon. We also found that many people are willing to walk away from their jobs if their employers don’t meet their post-pandemic workplace needs. Before your workplace reopens, check out five of the most insightful health and safety stats from the survey.

66% of employees worry about going to the physical workplace

Even with the vaccine rollout underway, more than half of employees (66%) worry about going back to the workplace. This number is even higher for certain demographics.

Now’s the time for companies to build trust with their people. People want to be confident they can go into the workplace without getting sick. Workplace teams should share their return-to-work plans with employees and show what they’re doing to keep their people safe. Clear and regular communication will help ease employees’ concerns about working on-site.

Tip: To understand the health and safety expectations of your employees, conduct regular surveys and tailor your workplace strategy accordingly.

75% of Gen Z say they’re concerned

Despite being less vulnerable to COVID-19, younger employees are the most worried about returning to work. 75% Gen Z respondents say they’re worried about returning to the workplace. For Gen Z workers, their concern may be tied to getting sick at work and infecting at-risk family members. In the US, more young adults live with their families than at any time since the Great Depression.

Millennials and Gen X responded almost identically. Over 65% of people in each group say they’re worried. In contrast to other generations, only 58% of Boomers are worried about their health and safety working on-site. 

Tip: If you’re bringing employees back in phases, allow employees who feel safe to volunteer to return. Iterate your workplace safety strategy on this smaller group. Then, scale your best ideas to accommodate more employees down the line.

76% of office workers worry about returning to the workplace

Office workers are more likely than non-office workers to be concerned about their employers relaxing COVID-19 measures too early. 76% of office workers say they’re “somewhat concerned,” “very concerned,” or “extremely concerned.” In comparison, less than half (49%) of non-office workers say they’re concerned. Overall, 61% of all survey respondents report concern.

Tip: Help employees feel more at ease at the workplace by monitoring occupancy and enforcing capacity limits. If you can, bring people back in phases starting with those who want to return.

62% of employees think vaccines should be mandatory to enter the workplace

Most employees (62%) believe employers should require people to get vaccinated to enter the workplace. More than a third (36%) say they “strongly agree.”

People want to be sure they’re not going to get sick when they go into the workplace. However, the CDC says whether a company can require vaccinations is down to state and local law.

Tip: Want to enforce a mandatory vaccination policy? Consult your HR and legal teams to learn how to proceed. You can also require people to complete a health questionnaire before entering the workplace to ensure everyone on-site meets your entry criteria.

47% of people say they’d look for a new job 

One way employees can reduce risk to their health in the workplace is by limiting the number of days they work on-site. This may be why nearly half of employees say they want the flexibility of a hybrid work model.

In fact, for many people, hybrid work is a requirement, not a nice-to-have. 47% of employees say they’re likely to look for a new job if their employers don’t offer hybrid work post-pandemic. Employees may prove this in several ways. Turnover will be the most obvious and have the biggest impact on the company. But employers shouldn’t overlook the risks to employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction.

Tip: Survey your own workforce to decide if investing in this work model is the right choice for your people. Read this blog post for tips on how to do this the right way.

What’s at stake for employers that don’t create a safe and flexible space for people to return to after the pandemic? Nearly half of their workforce. Companies that don’t adapt now may do lasting damage to employee turnover and morale.

Want to see the full results of our return to work report? Check it out here: Employees have a vision for the future of work and its hybrid. You’ll learn how people want to use the workplace going forward and what your team can do to get ahead of workplace trends in the new era of work.