In late March, we fielded the first wave of our PandemicEX survey to more than 1,000 workers across Europe. Six weeks later, in early May, we reached back out to see how a life of lockdown and working from home had changed employees’ attitudes and behaviors. We found:

  • UK workers are optimistic about the long-term future yet apprehensive about how the country will exit lockdown. Almost half of UK workers are concerned they’ll be forced back to work too early.
  • Going into lockdown, UK workers were confident in the government’s plans and the financial stability of their firms. Recent events have shaken that confidence. More than half now believe the government won’t take strong enough steps to resolve the coronavirus crisis.
  • UK worker confidence in their business leaders remains as strong as it was in March. Two-thirds of UK firms have implemented credible COVID-19 risk management plans.
  • Technology issues are increasing, and the continued strain of balancing work and home life in less than ideal circumstances means home workers feel less productive than they did in March.

In late March, only 34% of UK workers agreed that they personally felt safe from infection. Now, 44% agree. “Return to work” (remember, many have been working the entire time, either at home or as frontline, key workers) means relaxing the isolation protocols that have helped reduce infection and have made workers feel safer. Social distancing, coupled with practical safety interventions like transparent plastic screens in supermarket checkouts and the removal of the requirement for delivery drivers to obtain physical signatures, has dampened some workers’ immediate fears over infection.

As the UK begins to face a staged return to work, business leaders must capitalize on the trust their employees have placed in them, take the lead on helping their employees through the crisis, and create a sense of security. Our research shows that firms that deliver great customer experiences underpin them with a laser focus on creating great employee experiences. Social media has laid your internal processes, policies, and ways of working bare. Your customers can see how you treat your employees — for better or for worse. Protecting your employees as they emerge from lockdown isn’t just the morally correct thing to do; it’s the financially astute thing to do, as well.

Read more about our PandemicEX research for the UK, Europe, and beyond here.