One in three workers want a Covid-19 antibody test or vaccine before returning to the workplace, according to new research.
A survey carried out by Canada Life found that 35 per cent of those who have been working from home say they would like the reassurance of either a positive antibody test, confirming they have some protection against the disease or a vaccine.
Of those who have been working from home, other measures they’d like to see implemented include routine temperature checks (18 per cent), regular coronavirus testing in the office (21 per cent) and physical changes, such as socially distanced desks (22 per cent).
However, those surveyed said they would also like the option to work from home when they want to (31 per cent), while a quarter (23 per cent) want to be given the choice as to whether they return at all to the physical work environment.
Despite these concerns though, the survey also found four out of 10 employees are feeling positive about getting back into the workplace. This is higher than the 28 per cent who said they were concerned about this. However Canada Life found that a higher proportion of women (36 per cent) expressed concerns about return to an office.
The survey found almost a fifth (17 per cent) said that despite the official Government alert level dropping to three, it will be at least a few years before working practices return to normal, with some predicting office life will never return to its pre-Covid days.
Despite these challenges, many people cited benefits in returns to an office environment. These included having access to teams and management (18 per cent), getting back into a routine (16 per cent), having fewer distractions (13 per cent) and improved mental health (12 per cent).
Canada Life strategic proposition director Paul Avis says: “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. And while lots of workers are looking forward to getting ‘back to normal’, many feel like the ‘new normal’ will never be the same as it once was.
“With the pandemic changing the way we’ve lived our lives over the past four months, it is not surprising some are understandably hoping for a vaccine or antibody testing before they get back into the workplace.”
He adds though that concerns have been raised by psychiatrists that the UK faces a tsunami of mental health issues. For this reason Avis says a return to work may be beneficial for many people’s mental health.
“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.”
Canada Life recently launched ‘WeCare’, an extensive virtual support service covering physical health, mental health and wellbeing support to over 9,000 employers and their 150,000 employees and families.