U.S. workers worried about COVID-19 at work—here’s how businesses can ease concerns

by | Mar 24, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

The COVID-19 crisis has changed everything about our culture for the time being, and work is certainly near the top of the list. Nearly every U.S. worker is concerned about the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new survey from B2B ratings and reviews platform Clutch.

The research found that 88 percent of employees are concerned about COVID-19, including 29 percent who are very concerned. Many businesses are doing their part, however, to ease these employee concerns. In response to the spread of COVID-19, businesses are:

  • Encouraging sick employees to stay home (61 percent)
  • Improving office hygiene and cleanliness (52 percent)
  • Reducing business travel (36 percent)
  • Asking employees to work remotely (26 percent)
  • Expanding sick leave policy (13 percent)

U.S. workers worried about COVID-19 at work—here’s how businesses can ease concerns

Businesses should do their part to keep their employees safe and healthy. “We need to do what we can to contain it and stop it in its course,” said Sara Spector-Brown, director of operations of 3 Media Web, a digital agency in Boston, in a news release. “Even if it may seem too cautionary, you can never be too careful.”

U.S. workers worried about COVID-19 at work—here’s how businesses can ease concerns

Businesses are asking employees to work remotely when possible

One of the best ways to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus is to ask employees to work from home. Already, 26 percent of U.S. companies are shifting to remote work, a number that grows every day as the outbreak continues.

Although some industries, especially service-based ones, aren’t conducive to remote work, businesses should not make employees who are able to work remotely come to the office.

Denver marketing agency encite branding + marketing + creative asked all employees to work from home starting March 16. The company moved all meetings to video conferences and pushed back necessary in-person appointments.

U.S. workers worried about COVID-19 at work—here’s how businesses can ease concerns

“I definitely feel better knowing that I won’t be expected to be in an office of 25-50 people on any given day,” Vice President of Strategy Sophie Mann said, in the release. “It’s absolutely better to be safe than sorry.”

Businesses are expanding their sick leave policies

Employees who are sick should not feel pressure to coming to the office—especially during a pandemic. As a result, some companies (13 percent) have expanded their sick leave policy.

An extensive sick leave policy can ensure employees take enough time off to get healthy. This reduces the chances of them coming to the office while still sick and spreading the virus to other employees.

U.S. workers worried about COVID-19 at work—here’s how businesses can ease concerns

Community Health Charities, in Alexandria, Va., is letting employees “go negative” on their sick leave days and take additional time off as needed. “It lets employees know they can take care of themselves if they are sick,” Chief Operating Officer Molly Gravholt said, in the release. “The policies and procedures put in place … let people know we hear you, we care about you.”

U.S. workers worried about COVID-19 at work—here’s how businesses can ease concerns

Read the full report here.

Clutch surveyed 512 employees between March 13 and 16, 2020.Forty-eight percent of respondents are female; 32% are male; 20% are unknown. Respondents are 18-24 (7%); 25-34 (16%); 35-44 (17%); 45-54 (15%); 55-64 (14%); 65 and older (8%); and unknown (23%).

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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