A third of employees unwilling to return to the workplace

Some 37 percent of New Zealanders who have been working remotely do not yet feel safe and happy to return to their co-located workplace, according to a survey by recruiting company Hays.

However, 47 percent have already returned to their co-located workplace and the final 16 percent plan to do so in the next three months.  

The survey of working professionals also suggests that New Zealanders are more confident returning to their co-located workplace than Australians – just over half (51 percent) of those surveyed in Australia do not yet feel comfortable to return. 

Meanwhile, 68 percent of New Zealanders surveyed have worked from home during this crisis.

“There’s no doubt that Covid-19 has forced a significant upswing in the number of people who have been able to work remotely,” says Adam Shapley, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, in a media release.

“But a new dilemma for employers is that of staff who are afraid to return to their co-located workplace. With the virus still in circulation, employers who call their staff back to work may find that their employees are not comfortable returning. 

“The potential for new waves of infections is certainly very real, therefore even employers who have started transitioning staff back to the workplace find that social distancing and therefore flexible working arrangements will likely need to remain in place until more is known about Covid-19.”
He says that given this, employers need to focus on ensuring managers are equipped with the skills they need to lead a hybrid team. 

“It’s also important to make sure employees feel they can work effectively in such a setup. Communicate regularly, be transparent, offer flexibility and provide ongoing feedback to make hybrid team working a success.”

Hays’ says its survey was conducted in August 2020 and was completed by 4,105 people. Of these, 966 responded as employers and 3,139 were working professionals. The full results can be found in the new Hays Barometer Report, www.hays.net.nz/employer-insights/employer-tools/barometer-report

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