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Ready They're Not: New Citrix Survey Finds Employees Reluctant to Return to Office
Despite increased safety measures, majority of US workers polled say they would prefer to continue working from home

As the US economy prepares to re-open, businesses are readying plans to return employees to the office. But as the results of a new survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Citrix Systems, Inc. reveal, a majority of office workers currently working from home due to the coronavirus are reluctant to do so. Despite the relaxing of shelter-in-place orders and increase in safety measures, 64 percent of 2,000 US workers polled say they would not feel comfortable returning to the office for one month or more.

"As companies prepare to restart their operations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is important that they understand the concerns and expectations employees have for returning to the office," says Donna Kimmel, Chief People Officer, Citrix. "The vast majority of workers remain anxious and want to be sure that they are not putting themselves or their families at risk and employers must factor this into their plans."

The Rush Isn't On

Asked when they would be comfortable working in an office environment again, 64 percent of employees who responded to the OnePoll survey said in 30 days or more:
  • One month (22 percent)
  • Two months (19 percent)
  • Three months (14 percent)
  • Four months (5 percent)
  • Five months (2 percent)
  • More than five months (2 percent)
Safety First

When probed on what they would like their employers to require as part of reopening facilities, respondents indicated:
  • Face masks worn by all employees (46 percent)
  • Disposable gloves worn by all employees (43 percent)
  • Hand sanitizer readily available throughout office space (42 percent)
  • Health checks every two weeks with specific testing for coronavirus (41 percent)
  • Face visors/face shields worn by all employees (40 percent)
  • App installed on work-issued mobile devices to track employee movements and allow contact tracing (35 percent)
  • Self-temperature checks performed by employees and a dedicated app to submit and validate data before allowing office entry (35 percent)
  • Regular and clearly documented deep cleaning procedures (32 percent)
  • Floor markings to enforce appropriate social distancing (32 percent)
  • Thermal cameras to check temperatures before entering office space (31 percent)
  • Staggered work shifts to prevent full offices (28 percent)
  • Removal of hot desking - allocated, spaced seating only (24 percent)
  • No face-to-face meetings (23 percent)
  • Onsite cafeterias closed (18 percent)

If none of these measures are implemented, 77 percent of employees surveyed said they will either:
  • Continue to work from home permanently until the situation changed (45 percent), or
  • Go to the office only for specific purposes (32 percent)
  • And five percent said they will find a job that allows them to work remotely all of the time.
Do as I ask, not as I Do

Ironically, a majority of the same respondents indicated that even if such measures are put in place, they will continue to work remote or go to the office only as required until they are eased. If asked to:
  • Wear a mask and gloves all the time
    • 37 percent would continue to work remote
    • 37 percent would go to the office only as required
  • Install and use an app on corporate mobile devices to track movements while on corporate premises and allow contact tracing
    • 40 percent would continue to work remote
    • 39 percent would go to the office only as required
  • Submit to health tests for coronavirus every two weeks
    • 36 percent would continue to work remote
    • 38 percent would go to the office only as required
Creating a Comfort Zone

What will it take for employees to feel comfortable returning to the office full time? According to the OnePoll survey:
  • Regular testing and health screenings for all employees (51 percent)
  • An effective vaccine (46 percent)
  • Contact tracing/movement apps deployed by employer (44 percent)
  • Contact tracing/movement apps deployed by government (38 percent)
  • Flexible sick leave policy (28 percent)
Still, three percent said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed their approach to work and that they don't ever want to return to an office full time.

"When COVID-19 began its rapid spread and remote work became a mandate, many companies viewed it as a short-term situation," Kimmel said. "But as this research makes clear, flexible models that accommodate both the home and traditional workforce need to be a permanent part of long-term plans if businesses hope to move forward."

Citrix provides a complete range of digital workspace solutions to enable remote work and drive business continuity, even in the most challenging times. Click here to learn more about these solutions and how your organization can use them to enable seamless workforce productivity, giving employees the flexibility to work from anywhere in a safe manner, all while keeping your apps and information secure.
Published Wednesday, May 13, 2020 12:18 PM by David Marshall
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