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    Half of remote workers will only return to the office if they are vaccinated

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    A new study commissioned by an intelligent learning platform has revealed that almost a third (32%) of British employees will not return to the office if they are asked to wear a mask, and a tenth (11%) will refuse if they are required to be vaccinated.

    In contrast, adequate space and protective additions to an office appear to be the preferred protocols by employees, with four fifths (79%) saying they will insist that they sit at least two metres away from colleagues and two thirds (66%) will expect protection screens to be installed in workplaces before returning.

    The research, compiled by HowNow, asked 3,000 remote workers from the UK how they were feeling about the prospect of returning to workplaces, now the Government is easing restrictions and what they thought had changed since moving to a work-from-home system last year. More than three quarters (77%) of respondents stated they were ‘nervous’ about returning to the office, with half (52%) saying they will only consider returning if they have been vaccinated. When asked why they were feeling nervous about returning to the office, almost two fifths (39%) are nervous to interact with colleagues again in person, less than a third (31%) are worried about commuting, and a fifth (19%) are concerned about their physical appearance.

    HowNow also asked respondents how they have felt working remotely for the last 12 months. Two fifths (42%) answered ‘lonely’ and a third (32%) say it’s having a negative impact on their mental health. Despite this, HowNow’s research shows that the majority of remote workers (79%) would prefer to continue working from home in some capacity, with Mondays and Fridays the most popular remote setup. A report from Microsoft Surface and YouGov at the beginning of 2021 discovered that more than four fifths (87%) of employees reported their businesses have adapted to hybrid/remote working.

    Nelson Sivalingam, CEO and Co-Founder of HowNow, said: “At HowNow, our mission has always been to give people the right skills, knowledge and mindset to succeed in their role and career. However, after a year of working from home and office returns creeping onto the horizon, those three things are bound to have been affected.

    “That’s why we decided to commission this survey, to get a true feel for how employees view the WFH anniversary and eventual return to the office.

    “And what should give leaders hope is that the two key themes are issues they can tackle right now. Currently, a lot of people are feeling disconnected from colleagues and concerned about health and safety.  From introducing virtual socials for this final stretch to managing the office return, now is the perfect moment to evaluate and take action.”

    Full details of the study can be found here: https://gethownow.com/blog/return-to-work-report/

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    Lisa Carter

    All stories by: Lisa Carter