A major poll commissioned by Montfort Communications, and conducted by Opinium, has revealed that the UK workforce is deeply concerned about the lasting economic impacts of the lockdown.
The poll suggests that UK workers support a quick return to work or fear they will experience significant personal impacts. Only 6% of those polled believed that the UK economy would not be harmed by continued lockdown.
Almost half of those not in their usual workplace (45%) support an immediate return to work, versus 28% who oppose it. If social distancing measures are implemented, support for an immediate return increased across a range of workplaces including Garden Centres (64%), Factories (62%) and Offices (57%).
When asked about the effects of an extended lockdown to personal income 81% of those who feared a pay cut said that said it could happen by mid-July.
‘These findings appear to show a major sea change in attitudes and tend to contradict recent polls suggesting the general public does not support a speedy return to work’, said Nick Miles, a founding partner of Montfort Communications, which commissioned the survey.
The financial services sector has led the way in embracing working at home, with 78% working from home entirely or more than usual since the lockdown began, compared to 43% of all respondents, and more than any other industry, The data also suggests that those in financial services are more reluctant to return to their normal workplace, with only 37% saying they want to go back as soon as possible compared to 45% across the board.
‘Having experienced the largest shift in working arrangements as a result of the pandemic, these findings suggest that financial services workers in particular feel more confident about their salary and job security.” said Gay Collins, a founding partner of Montfort Communications.
“As the return to work process commences, those in financial services are also re-evaluating what their working practices and work-life balance could look like. This presents a challenge for management teams in how to react and to help shape the future of financial services. Tomorrow’s place of work can and should look very different, which in turn will attract a more productive and diverse workforce”.
Of those not in favour of an imminent return to work across the whole sample, the key factor is fear of catching the virus in the workplace (59%) rather than the commute to work (39%). Interestingly however, 51% of financial services workers who are not keen on returning to work are worried about the commute. 68% of workers are comfortable with wearing masks and gloves at work.