Tuesday, 24th November 2020

Commute, not Covid, main reason employees are avoiding offices

Only one in four cite health concerns as their main reason for not wanting to return to the office.

Employees worried about returning to the office post-lockdown are most concerned about work-life balance and the daily commute, rather than their health, according to research from absence intelligence company e-days.

Whereas only a quarter of employees are most worried about potential health implications, results of a snapshot poll of 100 workers show that 7 out of 10 of us are more concerned with impact to work-life balance (37%) or the office commute (34%). The research follows the change in government advice on 1 August 2020 meaning employers can make their own decisions about staff returning safely to work.

Respondents were asked to choose between ‘health implications’, ‘commute’, ‘work/life balance’ and ‘routine’ as the area they are most worried about in returning to their place of work. The results come as analysis from US bank Morgan Stanley showed only one-third of UK white-collar employees have gone back to work, lagging far behind their European counterparts, where twice as many have done so. A previous e-days survey showed that 1 in 3 UK workers are ‘reluctant to return’ to office spaces at all now that lockdown measures have been eased, and that 63% felt they were more productive working from home anyway.

Work-life balance is key to employee wellbeing and helping avoid potential burnout. Enabling employees to spread their annual leave throughout the year is just one of the ways e-days helps to prevent burnout. e-days also offers direct health & wellbeing advice from the NHS through its NHS Wellbeing Module including how to manage sleep and tiredness.

Steve Arnold, CEO of e-days, commented: “As more staff return to work, companies need to ensure the time employees do spend in the office is as stress-free as possible. This means being aware of what your staff member’s concerns actually are and how you can help address them. We have e-days customers already using the platform to register who is in the office and who is not, to help address concerns around social distancing. Building in more flexibility to where people do their best work, or making sure that those who like to start earlier or finish later are allowed to do so will also help. And with COVID-19 already restricting how employees spend their free time, managing annual leave to ensure a healthy work-life balance has never been more important.”

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