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Many British Columbians uneasy about prospect of returning to office life: poll

Last Updated Jun 24, 2020 at 7:56 am PDT

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Many people in B.C. are uneasy about the idea of returning to the office, a new survey finds

Insights West says a 'significant number of workers' in B.C. are hesitant

Hesitation around returning to the office is around things like physical distancing

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Many of us have been working from home for months, but even as restrictions lift, a number of people still aren’t ready to go back to the office.

According to Insights West, a “significant number of workers” in British Columbia are hesitant.

“It’s really only 20 per cent of the population who feel that they’re totally comfortable going back to work, and the rest have varying degrees of discomfort,” Steve Mossop, president, Insights West, explains.

Overall, he says 24 per cent of respondents to the pollster’s recent survey say “they’re not very comfortable,” while 12 per cent say they’re not comfortable at all with heading back to the office.

“There’s this big group of 43 per cent who say they’re just somewhat comfortable, they have this hesitation,” Mossop adds.

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The hesitation is around things like physical distancing — in workspaces but also in common spaces, like kitchens, bathrooms, and hallways.

Then there’s the biggest concern — catching COVID-19 from a coworker. Mossop says almost 80 per cent of respondents say they’re concerned about contracting the coronavirus from a workmate.

“If workers were given the choice, there’s only about 30 per cent who say they would go back now or in September, and the vast majority say sometime way in the future,” Mossop tells NEWS 1130.

The survey also found, so far, most businesses are doing a pretty good job in making sure employees are feeling safe, as only 44 per cent are concerned about their company not taking enough precautions.

When it comes to productivity, most workers say they tend to get more work done at the office.

“We found that about, a large minority — 37 per cent of workers — feel they’re less productive, versus 30 per cent who say they’re more productive at work,” Mossop says. “So, it’s about split, but leaning towards the less productive side with all the interruptions with kids, and laundry, and the fridge.”

Meanwhile, Insights West has also found that the older you are, the less comfortable you tend to be with the idea of returning to work.

-With files from Dean Recksiedler