One in three Australians’ workplaces have no clear COVID-safe plan – survey
Thirty-three percent of employees admit their organisation has not shared with them a COVID-19 risk management plan, a new national survey has revealed.
The survey of 1001 Australian employees was commissioned by specialist antiviral cleaning company Cleancorp. It found small businesses are less likely to have a policy to minimise COVID-19 spread in the workplace. More than half of the employees in micro businesses (up to 15 employees) and 33 percent in small businesses (15 to 50 employees) have received no such policy.
From organisations with more than 50 employees, 24 percent of employees in the study have received no policy.
Construction, media and entertainment industries appear to be the least equipped to re-enter the workplace – an alarming fact for construction, which has continued operating for the duration of the pandemic.
As many employees nationwide continue returning to the workplace, it emerges that 47 percent are worried that the use of shared workspaces – like co-working spaces, hot desks and meeting rooms – could carry an increased risk of infection.
Other findings include:
- 46 percent are worried about using shared touchpoints such as security buttons or door handles
- 36 percent are worried about shared items like kitchen utensils, bathroom items and stationery
- 33 percent are concerned about transmission risks on public transport
- 28 percent are concerned about how best to navigate elevators, stairwells and corridors
- 50 percent believe management should mandate that anyone with the slightest COVID-19 symptoms does not enter the workplace, and
- 49 percent say workplace cleaners should conduct antiviral cleans, not just regular cleans.
Other factors that would make employees feel safer include having their own hand sanitiser, more flexibility about remote working arrangements, the availability of face masks and more regular and open communication from management about how the organisation is managing risks.
“Our research reveals that, since the pandemic, Aussie workers have become worried about sharing their workplaces with others and using shared touchpoints,” says Lisa Macqueen, co-founder and director at Cleancorp. “If organisations want to ensure a successful transition back to the office, they should communicate to their employees everything they have done to maximise their safety at work. Creating a COVID-19 risk management plan that assesses and determines the reuse of co-working spaces, addresses the four-square metre rule and incorporates professional commercial cleaning – especially if they didn’t have such a service already – are all extremely important.”