Survey: 42% of Employees Worried About Job Security Due to Spread of Coronavirus

Many employees report heightened concern about commuting and workplace, but few office closures.

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The coronavirus is fueling workplace concerns about job security, travel, and the negative long-term impact to businesses, according to new survey data from Zenefits.

Forty-three percent of employees surveyed were concerned the reaction to the coronavirus would have a long-term negative impact to the company they worked for, and 42% agreed they were more worried about their job security since the spread of the virus.

Coronavirus Data Chart 3

These worries persist despite the fact the majority of respondents (62%) agreed their employers’ response to concerns about the virus has been “appropriate and measured.”

The fresh data comes from an online survey conducted by Zenefits of 1,101 full-time employees based in the United States at companies with at least 20 employees. The survey was conducted between March 10-11, 2020.

Employees more concerned about commuting and workplace

More than half of the employees surveyed expressed at least some concern about commuting to, and working within, their workplace because of the coronavirus. Fifty-four percent of respondents agreed that they were “more concerned” about traveling to or working in a company office or facility because of the coronavirus.

And more than half of employees (55%) also felt the impact to productivity would be minimal if their company asked personnel to work from home.

The responses from a minority of respondents (20%) suggests there’s at least some reason for those concerns.

The vast majority — 80% — of respondents agreed that they would stay home if they exhibited symptoms.

Sick Day Employees Workest

Among the 20% that were neutral or disagreed …

  • 25% said they couldn’t afford to stay home from work
  • 21% said they didn’t have sick days or paid time off saved up
  • 20% said they doubted the illness they have is the coronavirus
  • 17% said no one else is trained or able to do their job
  • 13% said they feel pressure to show up from their supervisors even sick

Coronavirus Sick Day Workest

Employees at smaller businesses less likely to work from home

The survey also found discrepancies in how likely employees at smaller businesses were to be asked to work from home — or even to receive a communication by their employer regarding coronavirus.

Coronavirus Employer Communications Workest

While 70% of employees confirmed their employer had sent a communication or update regarding coronavirus, that number dropped for those at the smallest businesses.

Only 57% of employees at companies with 20 to 99 employees reported receiving an update on the virus from their employer, compared to 73% of respondents at businesses with 100 to 499 employees, 85% of respondents at businesses with 500 to 4,999 employees, and 77% of respondents at businesses with 5,000 or more employees.

Coronavirus Data Chart Communications

And while 43% of employees reported that their company had encouraged or directed personnel to work from home, that amount was lowest among the smallest businesses. Only 35% of respondents at businesses with 20 to 99 employees said they had been encouraged or directed to work from home by their employer. The largest share was among respondents at businesses with 500 to 4,999 employees at 58%.

Coronavirus Data Chart 4

Majority of employees don’t report office closures, travel restrictions

Even though a majority of employees confirmed that their employer had provided an update about coronavirus, most didn’t report employers taking stronger steps such as closing offices and facilities, restricting or banning travel, or canceling meetings or events.

Coronavirus Data Chart -Travel

When asked if their employer had temporarily closed an office or facility, 75% of respondents said no. Again, this was highest among the smallest businesses with 81% of respondents at businesses with 20 to 99 employees reporting no closures. It was lowest among businesses with 500 to 4,999 employees with only 63% reporting no closures.

Employees were more likely to confirm employers clamping down on travel. Although, the majority (56%) reported no such steps had been put in place by their employer. Again, size played a factor. Workers at businesses with 20 to 99 employees reported the lowest percentage of travel restrictions or bans by their employers at 28%, while their counterparts at businesses with 500 to 4,999 employees reported the highest percentage of travel restrictions at 53%.

And only 34% of respondents reported meetings or events being postponed or canceled by their employer due to concerns about coronavirus. Similar to the other results, the smallest businesses reported the lowest percentage of canceled meetings or events at 24%, while those at 500 to 4,999 employees reported the highest percentage at 49%.

Most employees believe coronavirus reaction could lead to greater remote work adoption

The reaction by businesses to the spread of the coronavirus could be a turning point for remote work in general, according to the majority of employees who participated in the survey.

Sixty-six percent of employees agreed that the reaction to the virus by businesses means “more companies will be open to, or enact more, flexibility to work remotely.”

Coronavirus Data Chart 6

Additionally, 55% agreed that if their employers required employees to work from home it would have minimal impact on productivity. And just over half (51%) agreed that they felt their managers were adequately trained to handle concerns about coronavirus.

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