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28 days ago by HR Grapevine

Commuting & dressing smartly | Brits aren't looking forward to these parts of return to office life

Story Not Looking Forward Office
​With some employers and HR starting to think about returning to a central place of work, new research has detailed the parts of the return to office life that Brits aren’t looking forward to.

Recent polling from Ipsos MORI – which took place before the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on May 17, 2021 – asked Brits how excited they were to do certain things when coronavirus restrictions end.

Within this, it found that some UK staff aren’t looking forward to the prospect of the work commute.

21% of survey respondents said that they were not looking forward to commuting to and from their place of work.

When it came to seeing colleagues again in person 15% said that they are not looking forward to this.

Elsewhere, the study found that Brits were also thinking about their work wardrobe. 19% said that they are not looking forward to dressing in smart clothes when going into work.

The above three statements were asked to those currently employed.

Ipsos MORI polled a sample of 1,069 adults aged between 18 and 75-years old in Great Britain between May 11 and 12, 2021.

Return to work & worker worries

The idea of returning to the office could spark worries for workers as other data has pointed towards.

For example, the Supporting Your Remote Workforce in 2021 and Beyond study found that around 40% of UK office workers were worried about catching coronavirus from their colleagues by returning to work.

Separate data from CPD Online College found that 16% said that they were concerned about being away from family.

Other worries cited in CPD Online College's research included leaving pets at home alone, lack of flexibility and workplace bullying and sexual harassment returning.

Some people could be concerned about the financial impact of commuting after more than a year of working from home.

For example, MoneySupermarket data found that lockdown homeworkers saved an average of £126 per month on commuting since March 2020, so it is possible that this will still be a top concern.

A ‘myriad of worries’

Vicki Field, an Independent HR Practitioner, previously told HR Grapevine that as people experts, the HR function needs to understand that people will be experiencing different anxieties when offices do reopen.

Whether this is the prospect of using public transport again “or any other of the myriad of worries and anxieties that mean we are human”, the individual concerns of staff should be at the forefront of HR’s mind.

To ensure that worker worries are properly supported, Field said that HR should try to understand the individual worries of staff and think about how they can mitigate this.

“The first thing is to try and understand each person’s anxiety and work to mitigate it. Does the person have to be back in the office? If not, let them work out their own ‘return to office’ plan,” Field explained.

“Any change can cause fear and anxiety so giving someone control over the change, lessens the negative emotions,” Field concluded.

Source: HR Grapevine