This week, Honeywell released the results of a comprehensive study on workers’ perceptions and feelings on the health and safety of their workplace. Conducted by Wakefield Research, the study surveyed 500 workers that typically work in buildings with 500 or more employees across the United States and was part of a global study in at total of four markets.
The findings show that a majority of the U.S. workforce (71%) does not feel completely safe working in their employer’s buildings. This number is even higher for those working remotely (82%), who are especially skeptical about the safety of work sites. Nearly three in 10 remote workers (29%) would look for a new job rather than return to a site that did not implement necessary safety measures.
“Workers are keenly attuned to the steps employers are taking to make their workspaces safer and healthier, especially when it comes to air quality and adherence to safety guidelines, which wasn’t previously a concern for some people,” said Vimal Kapur, President and Chief Executive Officer of Honeywell Building Technologies. “Air quality, for example, is not something that will be dismissed once we’re on the other side of this pandemic. It will be essential to the occupant experience, and good air quality will help make workers feel more comfortable as they return back to their offices.”
The surveyed workers’ concerns echo the latest scientific research on the spread of COVID-19, with 59% of those being more concerned about transmission through the air than through contact with a surface. In terms of what poses a bigger threat to their safety, 64% point to co-workers not following safety guidelines and 36% believe outdated ventilation systems. C-level and executive-level workers are more likely to recognize the threat of poor air quality with nearly half (47%) of those surveyed indicating outdated ventilation as a bigger threat.
Nearly half of U.S. surveyed workers (48%) agree that their building management has not taken the steps necessary to keep them safer on the job, and 61% believe their building is more likely to make short-term changes in response to the pandemic versus long-term investments in building systems. Surveyed workers are most worried that building management will not consistently enforce health and safety guidelines (49%), followed by worry that they won’t consistently invest in new technology to make working in-person safer (26%).
“Many facilities have made changes to their procedures but have not invested in the building itself and their occupants have noticed,” Kapur said. “Workers are going to demand more from buildings in the future, and we’re even seeing with these survey results that creating a healthier and safer environment will be a differentiator for staff retention and recruiting, and it may also impact long-term real estate value.”
To return to work and feel safer, U.S. surveyed workers view health safety protocols such as social distancing or mandatory masks as most critical (57%), and, in fact, 61% of those working on-site have seen such updates happen. Other top health and safety measures that surveyed workers want include health screening protocols such as temperature checks (49%), enhanced cleaning procedures (45%), updated air quality systems (28%), touchless door entries (28%), and technology for contact tracing (19%).
Survey Highlights By Region
- Nearly two-thirds of U.S. respondents (64%) indicate that co-workers not following safety guidelines pose a bigger threat than outdated ventilation systems (36%).
- Nearly half of U.S. surveyed workers (49%) are concerned about their building management’s ability to consistently enforce health and safety guidelines.
- Health and safety protocols, such as social distancing or mandatory masks, are viewed as the most critical factor for respondents feeling safer in a building (57%) among U.S. workers. Concurrently, U.S. respondents working on-site noted these as the most implemented measures in their workplaces (61%).
- Surveyed workers in the U.K. are equally concerned with transmission of COVID-19 through touching a surface that has the virus (51%) and through the air (49%).
- A higher percentage of U.K. respondents believe their building management is likely to make short-term changes in response to COVID-19 (62%) versus long-term investments in building systems.
- Germany has the highest number of surveyed workers working in a building full time (66%).
- German respondents viewed updates to air quality systems (37%) as critical to feeling safer in a building as health safety protocols (36%), and it is the country with the lowest percentage of workers whose buildings have implemented health safety protocols (41%).
- The Middle East is evenly split when it comes to respondents’ concerns about COVID-19 transmission through the air (50%) versus through contact with a surface (50%).
- Nearly half of workers in the Middle East say their buildings have implemented enhanced cleaning procedures (46%) and 37% say they have implemented touchless door entry.
To download the full report, visit the Honeywell website.
By integrating air quality, safety and security technologies along with advanced analytics, Honeywell’s Healthy Buildings solutions are designed to help reduce potential risks of contamination and improve business continuity by monitoring both the building environment and building occupants’ behaviors.
The Honeywell survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 500 workers in buildings of 500+ workers in the U.S., between November 19th and December 1st, 2020, using an email invitation and an online survey. This was part of a global study of 2,000 people that took place in the U.K., Germany and the Middle East. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation.
The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 2.2 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
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