Impact of Covid-19 on the UK workplace

To assess the impact of Covid-19 on the UK workplace, GoodCorporation commissioned Opinium to survey 2000 working adults designed to be representative of the UK working population. The survey examined how organisations have responded to the pandemic and in particular how well employees and other stakeholders were treated during the initial months of the crisis. It also looks at the the support employers said they would provide as many returned to their places of work.

This paper analyses the results of that survey which explores issues such as a safe working environment, the adequacy of sick pay, workers being required to work while on furlough and flexibility around caring and/or home schooling responsibilities. Download your copy of the report.

How did employers treat their workforce during Covid-19?

The survey found that 83% of employees felt they had been treated well by their employer during the first months of the crisis. With a similar number believing that customers, clients and service users were also well treated.

However, about 12% of the workforce felt that their employer had not handled the crisis well, rising to 17% for furloughed workers. In particular there were problems with the UK furlough scheme. A total of 21% of respondents had been furloughed with 26% of those furloughed asked to work during the furlough period, despite this being illegal.

Excessive working hours while working from home during Covid-19

Almost one third of workers (30%) were asked to work excessive hours during the first lockdown. This was higher among men (38%) and young people with nearly half of young people (18-24) asked to work extra hours compared to those over 35.

Employee concerns returning to the workplace

While the report shows that many employers have responded well to the crisis providing additional support to their employees, there were some concerns around sick pay, mental health support and accommodating caring responsibilities. On the plus side, 64% of employees report that their employer will provide a safe working environment.

However only 27% thought they would receive sufficient sick pay and only 36 per cent felt they would receive adequate mental health support.

With companies under the spotlight throughout the crisis for their treatment of different stakeholders it has never been more important to be able to live out company values and take an ethical approach to the covid response.