Managing the Return to Work | SURVEY

As the UK Government starts to ease lockdown measures and companies start to discuss plans for their eventual return to the workplace, worker engagement has never been more important.

As an employer, how you manage the return to your workplace will very much depend on the type of closure arrangements you have been operating. The three most prevalent types of closure are:

  • Business not trading at all (all staff on furlough)
  • Business trading on a limited basis (some staff on furlough while others work from home/limited company premises
  • Business trading fully but all employees working from home

Advantage Group's 3 brands provide unique insight into how our clients are operating and how we are supporting them & our candidates, along with the advice we get from our global parent company, Recruit. We have combined all of our experience to create a Secure Restart information and advice hub to support you in your journey.

According to the latest government update, the total number of furloughed jobs in the UK, as of June 14th, stands at 9.1m, with the total number of employers furloughing employees at 1.1 million. For this group and all the other employers across the UK, planning their return to the workplace is important.

According to CiPD, whichever of the above closure agreement you have been operating, there will be common issues you need to address.

  • All workplaces need to observe the Government’s social distancing guidelines.
  • Staff who can work from home are expected to carry on doing so.
  • Employers must consider detailed risk management to safeguard employees’ health and minimise risk of infection.
  • Employers should communicate practical measures they are taking to staff on a regular basis & make sure that employees know what rules and procedures they need to be following, especially if they begin to feel unwell.
  • Review social distancing measures and communal shared spaces
  • Key protection and hygiene measures will continue to apply, especially effective handwashing.
  • Be mindful that the effects from this pandemic are psychological as well as physical. This includes anxiety about the ongoing crisis as well as social isolation, bereavement, challenging domestic situation (childcare) as well as financial worries.

We have conducted a contingent worker survey to understand the scope of people's situations, and probed the workers on their thoughts on returning to their workplace, as well as their general feelings, actions they want in place and will take, and what measures they expect hirers to have in place ahead of their return.

Of the AGUK contingent workers surveyed, the split of respondents fell across the following sectors:

  • 36% in Engineering
  • 24% in Professional Services
  • 10% in Technology
  • 7% in Construction
  • 23% in Other (Manufacturing, Legal, Finance, Banking, Procurement, Energy)

Of the contingent worker population surveyed, when asked to clarify their current assignment status, respondents said that:

  • 59% are currently working from home
  • 19% currently on furlough
  • 14% are currently working onsite within the client community
  • 8% lost their job as a result of COVID-19

When asked “Once the stay-at-home mandate is lifted, when would you feel comfortable coming back into the office”, respondents said that:

  • 32% are prepared to return to the workplace immediately
  • 20% would like to continue to work from home
  • 18% are prepared to return when they're comfortable their hirer has all the H&S in place
  • 16% are ready to return as soon as mandate is lifted
  • 9% are not prepared to return to work
  • 5% had other concerns

When we asked the key reasons why they may have concerns around returning to the workplace, respondents said that:

  • 31% are concerned to return to current desk set up
  • 29% are worried about communal work spaces
  • 23% are specifically concerned around public bathrooms
  • 17% picked other

When we then asked questions around public transport, a resounding 73% said they would not be comfortable taking public transport to work at this moment and time.

However, when we probed deeper into the concerns around public transport and looked specifically at our contingent workers commute to their assignment, we found that:

  • 60% use personal vehicles
  • 19% work from home
  • 15% use public transport
  • 6% walk/cycle to work

It is apparent from these findings that employers will have to be accommodating when it comes to welcoming their workforce back to the office and specifically the mode of transport used to get to and from work. There are multiple concerns voiced by the UK workforce, including numerous conditions and precautions that employees would prefer to have in place, but the most prevailing factor is that a majority of workers are keen to return to their offices. 

As more and more organisations are beginning to welcome their workforces back to the office, we have compiled our Secure Restart guide to help you and your organisation ensure that your employees are safe and comfortable upon their return to work.

Free Returning to Work Document

We've also uploaded a document that you can download for free that your employees can fill out with their thoughts on returning to work and send back to you. Please download it here.

For more information or how this may affect you and your organisation, and how we can help, please get in contact today at can also contact, or call 07904 046 045.