During Phase 2 of the Scottish Government’s Route Map many businesses have either been able to reopen or been given indicative dates that they should be ready for. With this comes taking employees back off furlough. 30% of Moray’s employees were originally placed on furlough during the first few months of the pandemic. Moray Chamber of Commerce used its membership network and the wider business community through social media to survey almost 100 employees to seek their views on returning to work.
60% of respondents shared that they would feel confident going back in to the workplace. However, with COVID-19 still a risk to our communities and our businesses, they noted to feel safe they would like their employer to provide hand sanitizer, to limited the number of external visitors to the workplace and limit staff time working together.
There was a concern from 52% about having to wear a mask at work. Other concerns including a lack of a vaccine, the suitability of the track and trace app and temperature checks. Sarah Medcraf, CE of Moray Chamber of Commerce said: “The symptoms associated with COVID-19 are not uncommon, many people experience hot flushes or similar and this was a particular concern of the respondents. There was questions around what would they be expected to do if they had a temperature on arrival to work, but it was down to another medical condition or the menopause – would they need to go home and isolate?”
“Communication between staff and employers is key at the best of times but it is absolutely crucial now. Everyone needs to work as a team and be open and flexible. No body is going back to the same workplace the left in March.”
The survey also showed that 21% of employees will continue to work from home even as workplaces start opening up. Frustratingly, this is not an option for many as their digital connectivity is too poor. Of those who are working from home, it is likely they will be trying to cover childcare too with limited access to holiday camps, friends and family due to the current restrictions. Sarah Medcraf added: “26% of respondents were concerned about childcare and even though we are now in the holidays so the home-schooling pressure has dropped, the balancing of home/work life can be tough. Again, communication is key, so I urge employers to speak to employees, and employees to reach out.”
Sarah Medcraf is also reminding employees who are working from home that we are easing out of lockdown so they can visit their High Street. The shops, cafes etc in Moray’s town centres will be hit by people not being in their usual work place. They need us now more than ever.