Home Knowledge Just 25% of Employers Feel Prepared for Employees’ Return to the Workplace

Just 25% of Employers Feel Prepared for Employees' Return to the Workplace


Just 25% of organisations feel prepared for employees to return to the workplace and have detailed response plans in place. The findings are based on a survey conducted by William Fry on a webinar hosted by Walters People on health & safety, employment law and data protection considerations related to the return to work, following the outbreak of COVID-19. More encouragingly, 70% of respondents noted that their return to work plans are a work in progress and that appropriate steps are being taken.

Panellists outlined the contents of the Return to Work Safely Protocol publication and the key data protection issues affecting employers as employees re-enter the workplace. When polled, 50% of respondents listed notifying their staff of a colleague’s confirmed diagnosis with COVID-19 as their main data protection concern when it comes to employees returning to the workplace.

The Panellists also outlined how an employer can best prepare its “workplace of the future” in the wake of COVID-19, the issues that might arise from an employment law perspective, what employers should consider if employees remain working from home and how to deal with refusals to return to the workplace. Respondents had mixed feelings about returning to office, with only 7% looking forward to returning to the office full-time, 66% preferring to keep a mix of home and office, and 28% stating they would prefer to continue to work from home in the near to medium term.

Sarah Owen, Director of Walters People commented “Protocols, guidelines and best practice are all being put in place to help with the transition to the new way of working, but key to this being a success is solid communication with employees, a feedback loop to encourage two-way communication, and agility all round. Whilst change can be tough and come at a financial cost – it can also bring about greater efficiency, flexibility, boost productivity and wellbeing.”

Speaking on the survey findings, Catherine O’Flynn, panellist and Head of our Employment & Benefits department said “Employers must ensure they are following the back-to-work protocol and roadmap to provide a safe workplace for employees to return to.  With an overwhelming 66% majority of respondents wanting to combine working from home and the office, employers will also need to prepare for this shift in working life. The best advice is to consult and communicate with employees and take a collaborative approach to negotiating the way back safely.”

Please click here or on the image below to watch the full webinar where Catherine O’Flynn, Leo Moore and Nuala Clayton join Walters People to discuss how employers can best prepare its “Workplace of the Future” in light of Covid-19.Employment & Privacy Considerations Post COVID-19 B