Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19): highest risk - survey report - July 2021

Results from an online survey conducted by the Scottish Government Shielding Division in July 2021 with people at highest clinical risk from Covid-19.


Returning to work

From previous research with people at highest risk, we know that being in the workplace was an area of concern for key workers and for people who were unable to work from home. As restrictions continue to ease in Scotland, people who have been working from home so far may eventually be asked to return to the office – at their employer’s discretion. We wanted to understand how respondents felt about potentially returning to work, and whether there were any areas where Scottish Government could provide further guidance or support.

Of the 1615 respondents who were working:

  • 42% were going to the workplace
  • 40% were still working from home
  • 13% were doing a mixture of working from home and going to the workplace
  • 5% were unable to work from home but were choosing not to go to the workplace

Those who were choosing not to go to the workplace (n75) said that they had either been signed off work (56%), didn’t feel safe returning (52%) or had been advised not to return to the workplace by their doctor (25%).

Of those who were now going to the workplace (n880), 91% of them had returned in the three months prior to the survey. 66% of the respondents who had returned to work had felt supported in their return to the workplace.

The 34% (n273) of people who did not feel supported in their return to the workplace felt that this was because of:

  • other people not sticking to the rules (67%)
  • the measures not being properly enforced (56%)
  • the measures that were being put in place not making them feel safer (54%)

Of those who were still working from home (n632), 48% expected to be asked to return to the workplace once restrictions allowed.

73% (n629) of those expecting to be asked to return to work felt uncomfortable about the prospect of being asked to return to the workplace.

Where respondents are currently working from

Working from home 40%
Going to the workplace 42%
A mixture of working from home and going to the workplace 13%
Unable to work from home but not going to the workplace 5%
Response count 1595
Whether respondents who were going to the workplace had needed to return in the last 3 months
Yes 91%
No 9%
Response count 880

Whether respondents who had returned to the workplace felt supported in their return

Yes 66%
No 34%
Response count 795

Why respondents felt unsupported when they returned to the workplace

Chart showing responses to question asking why respondents felt unsupported when they returned to the workplace
Other people were not sticking to the rules 67%
The measures were not being properly enforced 56%
The measures that were put in place did not make me feel safer 54%
I felt rushed back to the workplace without being able to prepare and make sure it was safe 46%
My employer didn’t understand that I was at higher risk 31%
Another reason 8%
Response count 273

Guidance read or followed in advance of returning to the workplace

Chart showing responses to question asking which guidance respondents read or followed in advance of returning to the workplace.
I did an individual risk assessment 54%
I asked about a workplace risk assessment or changes to make it safer 46%
Look at the additional safety steps guidance 36%
I did not do any of these 14%
I got help from another organisation (e.g. health and safety or a trade union) 10%
I don’t know 1%
Response count 797

Whether respondents found the additional guidance on safety steps useful

Yes 85%
No 15%
Response count 288

Why those who are unable to work from home have not returned to the workplace

Chart showing responses to question asking why those who are unable to work from home have not returned to the workplace.
I have been signed off work 56%
I do not feel safe about returning to the workplace 52%
My doctor has advised me not to return to the workplace 25%
Another reason 15%
My organisation has not yet opened up the workplace for staff 5%
No particular reason 0%
Response count 75

Whether respondents expect to be asked to return the workplace when restrictions allow

Yes 48%
No 29%
I don’t know 23%
Response count 632

How comfortable respondents feel about returning to the workplace

Chart showing responses to question asking how comfortable people feel about returning to the workplace.
Very comfortable 3%
Fairly comfortable 11%
Neutral 13%
Fairly uncomfortable 30%
Very uncomfortable 43%
Response count 629

Contact

Email: shielding@gov.scot

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