Flexibility, cleaning protocols at the top of the list of concerns as employees eye return to the office

Flexibility, cleaning protocols at the top of the list of concerns as employees eye return to the office

BOSTON — Details on Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s four-phase plan to reopen the state’s economy are not expected until May 18th, but it’s becoming pretty clear, your workplace won’t look exactly the same when you return.

Hiring firm Robert Half Technology surveyed 1,000 workers in April to find out what they’d most like to see when they return, and what they expect from employers when they walk in the door.

“The business community is saying, just because the state says we're open doesn't mean we're all charging back to the office,” said Robert Half Senior District President Bill Driscoll. “People are now really evaluating what they expect.”

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Health and safety, along with clear communication, were top concerns for workers polled.

79% of employees surveyed want improved cleaning protocols. That tied for the top spot along with the desire for flexibility to work from home.

“For so long this concept of work-life balance of flexibility for all kinds of different employees has been a tough one for corporate America to get over and, I think that if you talk about silver linings, I think that could be some of the stuff that comes out of this on the other side, but that we might be able to enjoy going forward,” Driscoll said.

Another top request: 70% of those polled want fewer in-person meetings.

55% want staggered work schedules.

52% will expect coworkers to wear masks.

“I think everybody's going to have to make adjustments to make to be comfortable themselves and to make those around you comfortable,” Driscoll said. He added he was encouraged by another stat: Despite working remotely, 20% of those surveyed said they feel closer to their colleagues now.

“I’m optimistic about our resilience going forward,” Driscoll concluded.

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