As employees across the UK are to set to embark on their return to the workplace following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, a number of commuters are reluctant to return to the office in the coming months, mainly due to increased concern over infection control and social distancing on the daily commute.
According to a survey conducted by transport management specialist Kura, more than one in ten London workers plan to never commute again post pandemic.
Almost one fifth of UK workers do not intend to return to the office again post-pandemic, largely due to ongoing concerns around infection control.
Less than half (42 per cent) of employees across the UK intend to work in office five days per week and, despite the ongoing commentary that companies are moving towards a permanent hybrid working model, just 39 per cent of workers plan to return to work on a hybrid basis post pandemic.
The reluctance to return to the office stems largely from the travel to and from work, with nearly 60 per cent of workers across the UK admitting that they hold real concerns around the commute post lockdown.
This is particularly prevalent for the senior workforce, with Board-level (98 per cent), Directors (85 per cent) and Managers (77 per cent) holding the biggest concerns over the future of the commute.
Kura’s research found that the key root to commuters’ concerns post lockdown is infection control and lack of social distancing.
Across the UK, 36 per cent of workers hold Covid-related concerns with regard to the future of the commute, and this percentage increases to 54.4% for those employees commuting in and around London.
There is a strong cry for help with commuting from employees, particularly Graduates (70 per cent) and Executives (73 per cent).
Despite this, the commute is not a priority for the vast majority of businesses across the UK, with just 16.4 per cent of companies expressing desire to monitor or support employees on their commute going forward.
“As Covid-19 restrictions lift and employees are requested to return to the workplace, there will undoubtedly be more thought and consideration when reinstating the regular commute. With increased awareness around factors such as infection control and social distancing, we will inevitably see a shift in the commuting landscape,” Godfrey Ryan, CEO of Kura, told City A.M.
“For public transport commuters in particular, the perceived lack of infection control and overcrowding is hampering employers hopes of an office-based or hybrid workforce post lockdown. As these fears continue to prevent workers from wanting to return to the office, it is time for employers to step up and offer alternative travel support to their employees where necessary,” he added.