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Employees nervous about changing isolation rules

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Over half (70%) of UK working professionals feel the isolation rules surrounding contact with a COVID-positive person should not be changing.

According to new research by job site CV-Library, employees are nervous about the change to the isolation rules and are looking to their employers for reassurance that the workplace will be safe.

As of yesterday (16 August) people who have had both doses of the coronavirus vaccination do not have to isolate for 10 days if they come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.

Similar to the way that some businesses have requested people continue wearing masks in the workplace, Martin Tiplady, CEO at Chameleon People Solutions, said it’s not surprising almost three quarters of respondents feel businesses should continue with isolation rules.

Tiplady said it’s time business leaders step up to make their people feel safe.

Speaking to HR magazine he said: “Businesses should take the steps necessary to protect their staff and customers.

“But leaders must bear in mind what happens in one office, not frequented by the public, might be very different from the next.

“If isolation is what it takes, then businesses should offer it but just because one employer does it should not automatically mean the next does,” he said.

Jonathon Richards, CEO at Breathe, said as workforces try to navigate the return to normal, it’s vital leaders focus on clear communication between themselves and their employees.

He told HR magazine: "Employers need to take into consideration how workers individually feel to inform decision making, whilst also complying with government guidelines.

This will establish trust between staff and employers, reinforcing a positive working relationship. Levels of employee trust influence company culture."

If there is a lack of trust and instead fears that employers aren’t taking the right steps to ensure safety, Richards said this can put a strain on the overall company culture.

"An anxiety-ridden office will stunt staff productivity and business recovery, undoubtedly, so ensuring everyone is allowed to work in a way they feel most safe is key here," he said. 

However, the research found business leaders are taking COVID safety seriously and have made sure workplaces are safe and sanitised.

Nearly all respondents (82%) said that, despite the continued number of COVID–19 cases and the chaos of the ‘pingdemic’ in recent weeks, they do feel comfortable in the workplace.

Richards said it’s encouraging to see figures illustrating the fact that employees do feel comfortable in the workplace.

He said: "Going forward, if businesses want to attract workers back into the office, they must listen, be open-minded and put policies in place that make workers feel at ease and comfortable."

"This is the best way to welcome staff back after what has been a very tough time for most, and imperative for minimising fear and doubt in relation to working conditions."

Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of CV-Library said along with safety, staff well-being is a top priority for UK businesses and to know such a large majority of professionals feel safe in the workplace is great news and hugely reassuring.

Biggins said: “These are unprecedented times and there is no rule book, but the choices business owners make after the 16 August will have significant and wider repercussions.

“We all know from experience that feeling comfortable in the workplace is paramount and businesses need to listen to their staff.

“After all, with job postings at record levels and staff shortages in many sectors, candidates are in a strong position with plenty of alternative choices.”