40% of UK office workers have said catching Covid-19 as a direct result of being back in contact with colleagues is what worries them the most about returning to offices, a new report has found.
Over a third (37%) of workers said they were most fearful of contracting Covid-19 through contamination of shared office devices and equipment such as computers and keyboards.
The ‘Supporting Your Remote Workforce in 2021 and Beyond’ report, commissioned by Smart Locker Provider Velocity Smart Technology, showed employees have big concerns on returning to the office and what measures will be in place to limit the spread of Covid-19.
Almost two thirds of UK office workers (65%) would advocate for social distancing measures of two metres between desks.
Over half (52%) would welcome mandatory mask wearing in office spaces.
Anthony Lamoureux, CEO of Velocity Smart Technology, said: “Before the turn of the decade, remote working was something that so-called ‘cool’ or young businesses provided as a perk to attract rising talent. But one global pandemic later, and things are very different.
“Practically overnight, the well-established businesses no longer had the luxury of toying with the idea of remote working as something they ‘could’ offer in a far-off future – they either had to adapt to a remote workforce or close shop altogether. Business leaders and IT directors now need to understand exactly what the pandemic taught us about remote working.”
With employees calling for such safety measures to be deployed into the office, it is unsurprising that 83% of UK office workers agree that flexible working is here to stay, suggesting there really is little doubt that the office has changed forever.
Gartner research suggests over two-thirds (74%) of businesses plan to permanently shift employees to remote work after the Covid-19 crisis ends.
Big technology companies are paving the way, with the likes of Twitter and Google announcing long-term plans for remote working. These changes will manifest across the industry and provide a real glimpse into what the future of the office looks like.
Lamoureux continues: “In a nutshell, remote working is here to stay and for a company to thrive in this new paradigm it needs to evolve the support provided to remote employees and ensure they’re equipped to give their all.”