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Poll: Almost half are keen to get back to the workplace

Nearly half of Belgian employees will be happy to go back to the workplace half-time, as soon as it is possible to do so, according to a poll carried out by HR consultant Acerta and jobs website StepStone.

People who have been teleworking during the Covid-19 epidemic will be able to start going back to the workplace from 9 June, the Consultative Committee decided yesterday. For 47% of employees, that came as welcome news. That’s how many said they were tired of working from home, and are ready to go back to the workplace half-time or more.

For 39%, however, a return to the workplace is contingent on vaccination levels.

According to Hannelore Van Meldert, a teleworking expert at Acerta, “These figures are very striking. The fact that almost half of Belgians want to be in the office again part-time without additional measures, shows that they are now longing for a communal office environment for certain activities,” she said.

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The figures, she pointed out, only concern a half-time and not a full return to the workplace.

It is now clear that there will be no general return to the workplace full-time. After corona, hybrid working will become the new standard. What exactly employees will be in the office for will differ from company to company and from position to position.”

The fact that almost half is happy to return, however, means the other half are not, and that will be an issue employers have to deal with.

Companies now have to do their homework: how are they going to manage the return to the office in the right circumstances?” Van Meldert said.

But also: how do they ensure that teams are not split in two between ‘house sparrows’ and ‘office sparrows’. Teams should work with this themselves to build a working from home formula that works for them.”

Returning to the office should add value to the job, she said.

Administrative and knowledge work can still be perfectly done at home, while employees can find each other on the work floor, for example, co-creation, brainstorms and difficult conversations. Companies are already looking at how they can organise the influx of people into their office buildings in a corona-safe way, so that they do not encourage new outbreaks.”

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