Vaccine rollout improving employee confidence in returning to workplaces, poll finds

Nearly three-quarters of workers now say they are optimistic about going back to their place of work as normal

The proportion of workers who feel optimistic about returning to the workplace as restrictions ease has increased since the end of the second lockdown, a survey has found, with the vaccine rollout credited for growing confidence.

A poll of more than 2,000 employed adults across the UK, conducted by Aviva, found that, at the end of March, almost three-quarters (71 per cent) said the vaccine rollout made them optimistic about returning to work as normal. This was up from just 50 per cent at the end of November last year.

Two-thirds of those polled (64 per cent) said the vaccine made them feel safer at work.

In the survey the majority of employees said they would be comfortable taking a Covid test before returning to the workplace (75 per cent), compared to just 7 per cent who said they would feel uncomfortable being tested, while 80 per cent said they were confident that their employer would maintain standards to keep them and the general public safe in their place of work.

Just 13 per cent of respondents said they had Covid-related concerns about their health and safety in the workplace.

Chris Andrews, director of Aviva Risk Management Solutions, said the vaccine rollout has had “enormous benefit” to employee confidence in safely returning to the workplace.

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But, Andrews said, there were still risks that businesses needed to address. “Training for employees who have been off work for some time is essential to reduce the chance of injury upon return,” he said.

“Likewise, those employees whose jobs have changed as their business has adapted to Covid restrictions should also receive training on their new ways of working.”

The Aviva poll found that nearly a quarter of employees (23 per cent) had not received any training despite seeing their roles change as a result of coronavirus – compared to 11 per cent who said they had been offered training following a change in their role.

Similarly, three in five (60 per cent) of the employees who said they had time not working during previous lockdowns said their employers had not offered refresher training to ensure they were able to continue doing their job safely.