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British Columbians believe COVID-19 is far from over

British Columbians believe COVID-19 is far from over

A new KPMG Workforce Safeguarding App helps companies reopen their physical workplace safely during the pandemic

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Virtually all British Columbians (98 per cent) believe COVID-19 is far from over, with three in five (60 per cent) surveyed expressing fear in returning to the workplace given how contagious the COVID-19 virus is, finds a new poll by KPMG in Canada. That's above the national average of 54 per cent who admit they're fearful.

Still, 82 per cent in B.C., in line with the national average, trust their employer to take and maintain all necessary health and safety precautions. But, nearly seven in 10 (68 per cent) say if they don't feel safe enough in their physical workplace, they will refuse to go into work – that's almost 10 points higher than the national average of 59 per cent.

"Our poll findings clearly show that British Columbians are placing a great deal of trust in their employers to manage their return to the workplace and in keeping them safe," says Walter Pela, KPMG's regional managing partner for Greater Vancouver. "The pandemic is forcing every employer in the country to adopt comprehensive protocols and safety measures, and to look at new ways of staying connected to their employees given what we understand about virus transmission in confined and crowded spaces."

In the poll results, 87 per cent say they're worried about catching the virus or transmitting it to their loved ones. But, as long as the number of COVID cases remain relatively low, as many as 72 per cent – the same as the national average - would be okay going back to their physical workplace, although they believe there will be a second wave of infections in the fall or winter that will shut down workplaces all over again.

Key Poll Highlights

  • 98 per cent of British Columbians believe COVID-19 is far from over.
  • 87 per cent worry about getting COVID-19 or transmitting it to their loved ones.
  • 60 per cent say they're afraid of returning to the workplace given how contagious the COVID-19 virus is, compared to the national average of 54 per cent.
  • 72 per cent are OK with going back to the workplace now when the number of COVID-19 cases is relatively low, but they think a second wave of infections this fall or winter will shut down workplaces all over again.
  • 69 per cent would feel much or somewhat better about heading back into their physical workplace if their employer kept them updated in real-time about the level of health risk at their office and provided resources to foster their health and well-being. That's well above the 64 per cent national average.
  • 68 per cent say they will refuse to return to their workplace if they don't feel safe enough.
  • 82 per cent trust their employer to take and maintain all the necessary health and safety precautions.
  • 87 per cent say that they'd be more loyal to their employer or willing to give the extra effort when they know their company cares and is focused on keeping them safe, compared to 84 per cent nationally.

Prefer in-person communications

The KPMG poll findings show that three-quarters of B.C. respondents are satisfied with their virtual work-from-home environment, and almost six in 10 (58 per cent) say they feel more productive.

However, relationships with co-workers are indeed suffering. Half of British Columbians (50 per cent) surveyed said their relationship with their co-workers is weaker because of their remote working environment, compared to the national average of 59 per cent.

And, while many (77 per cent) are finding ways to make teamwork more effective, two-thirds prefer in-person communication over any other form, and 75 per cent say face-to-face in-person meetings are key to successfully building and maintaining long-term business relationships.

Safeguarding workplaces with KPMG's new mobile app

In an effort to help organizations efficiently safeguard workplaces and manage their workforce in the new reality KPMG recently launched a Workplace Safeguarding App. The App, which does not geo-track employees, helps employers to instantly connect with their workforce wherever they are, notifying them of urgent news, required actions, office open or closed status, and the level of health risk for that office.

The poll finds that 87 per cent of B.C. respondents would be more loyal to their employer or willing to give the extra effort when they know their company cares and is focused on keeping them safe. That's higher than the national average of 84 per cent.

Further, 61 per cent would download their employer's app to find out how busy office areas are so they can better manage their time and avoid those areas.

"Over three in five people in B.C. say they would use an employer app to stay connected and better manage their time," says Karsten Hiemstra, a partner in KPMG's IT Advisory Practice, and the firm's ServiceNow Advisory Services Leader for Western Canada "Our app helps make managing who returns to the workplace, when, and where much smoother. Because we designed it to be easy to use, employers will find that our app will help drive employee trust, engagement, and loyalty."

The App is to be used as a front-end component of broader workplace operational health and safety measures aligned to best practices and provincial standards within the COVID-19 context.

While the app can be customized, some of its key features include:

  • My Notification Centre – stay informed from any location on important news, updates, or required actions
  • My Offices – provides employees with office open/closed status and health risk for that office
  • My Request Centre – an intelligent travel request module that empowers employees to make informed decisions when scheduling a visit to their office location or visiting client sites locally and abroad
  • My Personal Risk Assessment – stay up to date with public health and safety guidelines for your region and organization
  • My Daily Check-in – a pulse-check of your teams with gamification elements to encourage participation
  • My Wellness Resources – connect your workforce with resources to promote wellness
  • My Dashboard – a comprehensive view of key performance indicators (KPIs) to provide management with real-time transparency on employee groups, facility readiness, and community risk levels.
  • Office Tracker – an easy-to-use menu for office managers to update the status of their local office and building, using configurable features such as personal protective equipment inventory and office cleanings.

KPMG used Methodify, an online research automation platform, to survey 1,010 Canadians between July 22 and 24.

ABOUT KPMG IN CANADA

KPMG LLP, an Audit, Tax and Advisory firm (home.kpmg/ca/en) is a limited liability partnership, established under the laws of Ontario, and the Canadian member firm of KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"). KPMG has more than 7,000 professionals/employees in over 40 locations across Canada serving private- and public-sector clients. KPMG is consistently recognized as an employer of choice and one of the best places to work in the country.

The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International, a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

For more information or to request tables, please contact:

Caroline Van Hasselt
National Communications & Media Relations
KPMG in Canada
(416) 777-3288
cvanhasselt@kpmg.ca

© 2020 KPMG LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

For more detail about the structure of the KPMG global organization please visit https://home.kpmg/governance.

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