Three out of five charity workers anxious about office return

Three out of five charity workers are worried about returning to the office as Covid-19 restrictions ease, a survey has revealed.

Among charity staff and volunteers, 60% are worried about returning to their workplace when it reopens, following a period of working from home and remotely.

Almost half (48%) are concerned how their colleagues will react to a return to an office environment.

Catching Covid-19 is the biggest concern (58%). Other fears raised by around a third of those surveyed include beneficiaries not wearing masks or observing social distancing.

While 39% of charities plan to reopen their offices, 30% do not intend to reopen their offices.

Just under half (45%) of charities plan to adopt a flexible approach to remote working, where staff work at home and in the office for part of the week.

The survey has been carried out by charity sector insurer Ecclesiastical.

It says that while home working has appealed to many charity workers, 28% said they had felt fatigued by working remotely.

Lockdown was especially tough, with 31% reporting that childcare and home schooling challenges while working at home.

“The last year has proved far more challenging than anyone could have anticipated, but throughout it people have shown incredible resilience and adaptability,” said Ecclesiastical charity niche director Angus Roy.

“The same has to be said for the charity sector. Against increased demand and a reduction in funding, charities have stepped up again and again to support those most in need.

“Ahead of any potential reopening of office space it’s only natural that there will be some trepidation among staff and volunteers about how that may look. It’s important that charities listen to these concerns, engage with their staff and set out a plan that works for all parties.

In April, Blackbaud’s Future of Work report found that eight out of ten charity workers backed home working post-pandemic.

Among charity organisations to look at flexible working post pandemic is Directory of Social, which has moved its staff to a four-day week permanently.

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