Covid-19: Survey reveals businesses expect bumps in the road back to work

12th March 2021

Over the course of three weeks, we captured the views of senior leaders from businesses, schools and charities at one of the most critical phases of the pandemic – getting people back to work.

Our survey reveals that:

  • Almost 1-in-6 organisations expect to have staff who refuse to return to work after the Covid-19 pandemic, yet 90% have not developed any policies to deal with this.
  • In a worrying sign of the wider social impact of the pandemic, around 7-in-10 employers (69%) also expect their employee’s mental health to have suffered during the crisis.
  • 55% of respondents said they didn’t know if they had any employees who were unable to have the vaccination on health grounds
  • Over 60% hadn’t made and didn’t intend to make any adjustments for unvaccinated staff or those unwilling to return
  • 39% had amended or introduced new health and safety policies specifically to deal with mental health

Despite the gloomy headlines in recent months, the survey shows that many organisations have shown remarkable resilience in adapting to the challenging situation:

  • 71% of respondents have been able to operate fully during the crisis as they were either unaffected by lockdown, adapted workplace procedures or implemented a work-from-home policy

“As part of a health questionnaire, an organisation might ask an employee if they’ve had the vaccine or will have it, but it’s tricky to ask why they are not having it. An employer would need a good reason to ask this question and it will depend on the sector and nature of the work undertaken.” Simon Shepherd, head of employment 

“Employers will have to keep clinically vulnerable staff safe as we return to normal and social distancing measures are relaxed.  Those unvaccinated staff who remain at a high risk from the virus will need all reasonably practicable measures to keep them  safe, and this will also extend to staff who live with clinically vulnerable family members.” Craig Burman, head of environmental and regulatory

Read the survey results and insight in full:
Covid-19: The vaccination challenge and returning to work safely

Craig Burman spoke with BBC Radio Leeds, focusing on the challenges for employers in getting their staff back into the workplace safely? Listen below:

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