With employers being encouraged to reopen office spaces, research from insurer Canada Life has concluded more than a third of those who have been working from home during lockdown (35%) want a vaccine or an antibody test to be in place before returning to the physical workplace.
Although four in ten (41%) said they were feeling positive about getting back into the office, 28% had concerns – increasing to 36% among women.
And a sixth (17%) felt that, despite the official government alert level dropping to three, it would be several years before working practices returned to normal, or even that things won’t ever get back to how they were pre-Covid-19.
Of those who had been working from home, other measures they said they would like to see implemented include routine temperature checks (18%), regular coronavirus testing in the office (21%) and physical changes like socially distanced desks (22%).
Employees also want the option to work from home when they wanted to (31%), while a quarter (23%) want to be given the choice as to whether they return at all to the physical work environment.
Despite the fact women are most looking forward to being out of the house again (26% versus 18% of men), female workers were generally more concerned about returning to the office than their male counterparts, the research added.
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.
“Employers have a clear responsibility to ensure their workers feel safe returning to the workplace and are given the time and support they need to feel comfortable doing so. Employers can access the resources and tools available to them to help ensure a return to the workplace will be as positive an experience as possible,” he added.
Separately, an office provider has called for the wearing of face masks to be made compulsory in all offices and workspaces. Offices.co.uk said such a move would increase employee confidence and help convince staff it is safe to return to our cities and get back to work.
And a poll by health and safety firm Protecting.co.uk has argued that only 40% of workers are willing to return to work without personal protective equipment (PPE), while 30% would be prepared to quit if their workplace is not made safe.