New COVID-19 Variants: Employees Concerned About Working In Office

A Honeywell survey revealed that 87% of workers have heightened concerns about working in an office due to the rise of new SARS-CoV-2 variants.

More than half of surveyed workers would leave their job if their employers did not take measures to create healthier indoor environments and promote well-being, according to a second annual Honeywell study on workers’ perceptions and feelings on the health and safety of their workplace. Late in 2021 and early this year, Wakefield Research surveyed 3,000 office workers who typically work in buildings with 500 or more employees across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India, the Middle East and ASEAN.

COVID-19 Variants Office
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Highlights from the study include:

  • As variants of COVID-19 spread, a significant majority of survey respondents (87%) are more concerned about working in an office building. Despite the broad rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations, this is a 19 percentage point increase in concern compared to last year’s findings. Results from the January 2021 survey, of a smaller sample size, showed 68% of workers not feeling completely safe working in their employer’s buildings at the time.
  • 62% of all respondents would leave their job if their employer does not take necessary measures to create a healthier indoor environment that promotes well-being.
  • When asked their thoughts on what poses a bigger threat to their safety, 57% of those surveyed noted co-workers not following safety guidelines, while 43% said outdated ventilation systems.

“Many companies have been forced to again rethink their return to office strategies given rising infection rates,” said Manish Sharma, vice president, chief technology and chief product officer for Honeywell Building Technologies. “These insights imply that employers need to continue to consider how they are creating healthier and safer workspaces, in particular related to improving indoor air quality and tracking compliance to guidelines such as social distancing and mask wearing. In the long term, creating a healthier workplace can be a competitive advantage to drive employee satisfaction and retainment.”

The initial survey results are a preview of a larger, forthcoming report from Honeywell Building Technologies that will be available next month.