A new KPMG Workforce Safeguarding App helps companies reopen their physical workplace safely during the pandemic
More than half (54 per cent) of Canadians are afraid to return to the workplace given just how contagious the COVID-19 virus is, and six in 10 will refuse to go back if they feel it's not safe enough, finds a new poll by KPMG in Canada. Still, 82 per cent trust their employer to take and maintain all the necessary health and safety precautions.
"Our poll findings clearly show that Canadians are placing a great deal of trust in their employers to manage their return to the workplace and in keeping them safe," says Doron Melnick, partner and acting lead of KPMG's people and change advisory services practice. "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."
Virtually all Canadians (94 per cent) believe the pandemic is far from over, and 83 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 of Canadians 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
Prefer in-person communications
The KPMG poll findings show that most Canadians (76 per cent) are satisfied with their work-from-home environment, and almost six in 10 (59 per cent) say they feel more productive.
However, they do feel their relationships with co-workers are suffering. An equal number (59 per cent) say their relationship with their co-workers is weaker in their current work-from-home environment. Seven in 10 (71 per cent) prefer in-person communication over any other form, including email, and 76 per cent say face-to-face in-person meetings are key to successfully building and maintaining long-term business relationships.
Top concern? Not the elevators
When returning to their physical workplace, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of Canadians said their top concern was that their colleagues might come to work sick or be asymptomatic.
Nearly six in 10 (57 per cent) were worried about sharing common spaces like meeting or lunch rooms, and 40 per cent were concerned about the air ventilation and circulation. They were least concerned about having to wear a mask in their workplace and waiting for an elevator.
Three in five Canadians would use their employer's smartphone app to help them avoid busy and crowded office areas, with slightly more than a quarter (26 per cent) expressing concern about app geo-tracking privacy.
Safeguarding workplaces with KPMG's new mobile app
The more employers can do to keep their workers safe, the more likely they are to drive both loyalty and productivity.
The poll findings reveal that 84 per cent of Canadians said 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. That's in line with Ontario and below 89 per cent in Alberta and 87 per cent in B.C.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents in Ontario (65 per cent) would download an app from their employer that lets them know how busy office areas are so that they can avoid those areas. The national average is 60 per cent.
To help organizations efficiently safeguard workplaces and manage their workforce in the new reality, KPMG recently launched a KPMG 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.
"Canadians are looking for tools they can trust to keep them safe in these unprecedented times," says Yvon Audette, KPMG's chief operating officer, management consulting services. "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:
KPMG used Methodify, an online research automation platform, to survey 1,010 Canadians between July 22 and 24.
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