Global research by integrated services provider Sodexo and Harris Interactive has shown that trust is the new corporate currency.
Despite some concerns over personal and family health, the research showed that over 8 out of 10 respondents are confident their organisations will create a safe environment once they return to work. 65% said communications from their employer were good or very good during the pandemic and 64% felt well-informed about how to work effectively in terms of conducting meetings and safety precautions in the workplace.
The survey, which focused on worklife after lockdown, conducted 4,824 online interviews with working adults, in both the private and public sectors, during the COVID 19 pandemic, across France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, USA, Australia, China, during June 2020.
79% of employees working remotely during lockdown wanted the option to continue doing so to some degree. Despite this, there are significant drawbacks to virtual work that can have a negative impact on business at large. The research cited lack of social interaction as the top drawback with difficulty collaborating as a team in second place. Going back to a more “normal” life, mentioned by 53% of respondents, and interacting with their co-workers (45%) are the main reasons that have or will make employees happy when returning to the workplace.
Along with the prevailing safety protocols, such as antibacterial gel and physical distances, 87% said regular, published audit reports of the various safety and cleaning processes in their company would make them feel even safer.
When asked to what extent the pandemic had changed their expectations of their employer in terms of sustainability, almost half (49%) declared having higher expectations about air quality in workplace, followed by environmental protection (46%), responsible waste management (44%) and using local suppliers (42%).
David Fox, managing director, Corporate Services, Sodexo Ireland, said: “Clearly the way in which we work is changing because of Covid-19. It’s vital that organisations understand and respond to the new demands on their workplaces and teams, to rethink employee experience and address their concerns.
“We are helping our clients adapt to these new demands and this research enables employers to understand how employees feel about workplaces and their attitudes towards a hybrid model of working both in the office and remotely. Our experts can provide advice on adapting offices spaces to ensure appropriate distancing, on enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures, and on providing healthy, nutritious meal options in the workplace.”
Over the last few months Sodexo has been working closely with its clients to support them as they develop new workplace strategies. Its ‘rise with Sodexo’ programme offers a comprehensive step by step strategy to ensure sites can operate safely and in line with social distancing measures, and that employees are supported whether they are returning to the office or continuing to work from home.
The ‘rise with Sodexo’ programme includes standards and protocols that have been clinically informed by Sodexo’s Medical Advisory Council and have been independently verified by Bureau Veritas to provide certified assurances to our clients and those we serve that we have taken proper measures to ensure the environment is safe.
This research is helping Sodexo to support its clients, helping them effectively lead teams into the next normal. Taking extracts from the research, Sodexo has published a ‘Thriving in the Worklife Evolution: Insights for Adaptive Leaders’ to help leaders find answers and shape solutions to navigate new challenges in an agile and adaptable way.
David Fox added: “At Sodexo, our mission is to support organisations to help their employees thrive. As we live through the ongoing impacts of Covid-19, we’re supporting our clients to manage disruption and plan for positive change. “We will continue to work closely with our clients to help them instil confidence and manage potential anxiety among the workforce and help set a positive course for the new normal.”
Download the ebook: Thriving in the Worklife Evolution: Insights for Adaptive Leaders to find out more.