More than half of people working from home are ready to return to the workplace – but a third are still concerned their offices aren’t Covid secure, research has found

A survey of 5,000 staff who have been working from home during the pandemic found that two fifths (43 per cent) admit to now suffering from 'WFH fatigue'.

With restrictions ending on July 19, the typical office worker wants to go into the office between two and three days per week.

But 60 per cent feel the company they work for needs to improve the office environment to prevent staff becoming ill in the future.

And a third (35 per cent) are concerned their workplace has not been made 'Covid secure'.

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    The study by facilities management experts Mitie also found the top features employees want to improve safety in the workplace.

    This includes hand sanitiser at every desk, toilets cleaned more frequently, better ventilation, and more space between workstations.

    Other suggested changes include more ‘touch point’ cleaning on bannisters, door handles and lift buttons, one-way walkway systems and investment in technology like ultraviolet disinfection systems.

    Ready to go back in the office

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    Dan Guest, chief operating officer, Mitie Technical Services, said: "While working from home has been a success for many, it’s clear that people are ready to return to the office, but employees need to be reassured that their workplace is clean and safe.

    “It’s important that businesses listen to their colleagues’ concerns and ensure the workplace is a safe environment ready for their return.

    "This can include small gestures like hand sanitiser on desks and free masks, but also investing in technology like systems that use ultraviolet light to kill germs or thermal imaging cameras to detect when people have a raised temperature will go a long way to ensuring colleagues are confident with coming back to the office.”

    The research also found that more than a third (35 per cent) of workers think their career has been negatively affected by working from home – with this figure rising to almost half (47 per cent) among those aged 18 to 34.

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    The work process has also been negatively affected for 55 per cent who think team collaboration and creativity has been hampered by working from home.

    A safe return and flexible options

    It also emerged that 82 per cent of workers are now more likely to call in sick or work from home than drag themselves into the office because they are more aware of the risk of spreading germs.

    And 87 per cent want a flexible working pattern which allows them to work from home or the office depending on the task.

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    Three quarters (74 per cent) wouldn't work for a company that didn't allow them to work flexibly, while 81 per cent would avoid a role if the firm had poor office facilities.

    More than three quarters (79 per cent) would also be attracted to work for a company that invests in technology to ensure their safe return to the office.

    Dan Guest, from Mitie, added: “Clean and safe offices are no longer a nice to have – businesses that invest in their workplaces will not only have happier staff that want to return to the office, but they will also attract the best new talent to come and join their company too.”

    TOP WORKPLACE CHANGES OFFICE WORKERS WANT TO SEE:

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    Hand sanitiser at every desk

    Toilets cleaned more frequently

    Better ventilation systems

    Better cleaning regime generally

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    More space between workstations

    Increased 'touch point' cleaning - bannisters, door handles etc...

    Free masks

    Reduced office/meeting room capacity to allow for social distancing

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    One-way systems

    More visible cleaners

    Desk booking apps/systems

    Rules around making drinks for others

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    Ultraviolet disinfection which uses ultraviolet light to kill germs

    Thermal imaging technology which can detect when people have a raised temperature