Australian professionals are increasingly concerned about commuting to work, as some workplaces contemplate making the switch back from entire teams working from home.
While large numbers of Victorian employees are still working remotely under the state’s coronavirus lockdowns, businesses in other Australian states are experimenting with new hybrid forms of work that involve workers spending at least some of their time in the office.
However, data out from LinkedIn today sheds light on some of the concerns workers have about returning to office-based work, and health and safety while commuting is high among them.
The survey of more than 2,500 Australian professionals was conducted in June and July. It found close to half of professionals are unsure about or unwilling to return to their workplace, while close to a quarter of employees would prefer to continue working from home until they feel safer.
What will the election mean to you?
Sign up to our free newsletter, including this weekend’s coverage of the election.
The same proportion of employees said they feel obligated to return to their workplace or only want to work from the office some of the time.
An accompanying survey, which took into account responses from 3,580 professionals, showed professionals in the finance, software and IT and public administration sectors are particularly concerned about the commute to and from their workplaces.
These concerns were highest among finance professionals, with 64% indicating they are worried about commuting to work. In this same group, 59% said they are also worried about others around them not taking safety guidelines seriously, and 32% are concerned about being in close proximity to co-workers.
More than half of software and IT professionals (53%) said they’re also concerned about commuting to work, while 59% of people who work in public administration said they are concerned about other people in their workplace not adhering to health and safety guidelines correctly.
The survey also canvassed views from professionals in healthcare and construction but found they were the least likely to have concerns about returning to their workplaces, as more than half of professionals in those sectors have continued working on-site throughout the pandemic.
The survey is part of LinkedIn’s ongoing Workforce Confidence Index, which has been tracking the sentiment among Australian professionals since March.
Commenting on the results, Matt Tindale, managing director of LinkedIn in Australia and New Zealand, said it is important for employers to take the concerns of their employees on board at this time.
“With many Australian workers having differing personal circumstances when it comes to returning to the office, workplaces and employees should strike a balance, allowing more flexibility for what works best during this period,” he said in a statement.
The index also measures confidence levels among company directors, and LinkedIn says the latest data shows a downward trend.
Directors’ confidence in their company’s ability to fare well in the next six months has fallen by 16 points since May, according to the survey.
Company directors are also concerned about the longer-term prospects of their companies, according to the survey, which is also reflected among the larger survey group of professionals.
While LinkedIn says sentiment towards long-term prospects has remained at similar levels in recent months, the professionals surveyed are now more concerned about short-term prospects, including job security and financial strain.