43% of workers anxious about returning to workplace, survey finds

The risk of exposure to Covid-19 on returning to the workplace is a worry for 43 per cent of Irish workers, a new survey has found.

It also revealed that two-thirds of workers are concerned about the lack of additional mental health supports being offered by their employers.

The Matrix Recruitment Return to Work Survey tracked the views of almost 900 adults in Ireland and found that 65 per cent of those in employment have returned to the workplace, while 35 per cent are still working from home.

Of those that continue to work from home, 43 per cent do not know when they will return to the workplace, indicating that employers may still be putting preparations in place or simply be waiting longer given the fluidity of the situation and newfound rising levels of Covid-19 cases. 42 per cent of survey respondents say that will not be returning until early 2021, while a third will be back in the workplace before Christmas. Six per cent have been told that they will continue to work from home on a permanent basis.

Workplace anxiety resulting from pandemic

Of those who have returned to the workplace, almost one third (31 per cent) were not happy about it. Of those who were anxious about returning to the workplace, 46 per cent said they would prefer to be working from home.

Of this number, 38 per cent said they had a better work/life balance when working from home.

Workers wanting to stay at home

Of those still working from home, the majority (58 per cent) would like to work from home permanently. Of these, 43 per cent indicated that they were feeling anxious about the potential exposure to Covid-19 with the majority (68 per cent) saying that they were experiencing a better work/life balance.

Positives of returning to the workplace

Of those who have returned to the workplace either on a full or part-time basis, 69 per cent said that they were happy to do so.

Breda Dooley of Matrix Recruitment said: “It’s interesting to see that while most people who are still working from home say they would like to do so permanently, of those who have found themselves back at their desks recently, more than two-thirds say they’re happy with the setup. It suggests that people are apprehensive about going back but once they do so, they are adjusting quickly and actually enjoying being back.”