As the staged return of office workers begins in Victoria today, new research has revealed the majority of city workers want to get back to their workplaces provided COVID-safe plans are in place.
Roy Morgan surveyed more than 500 city workers on behalf of the City of Melbourne and found the majority would feel safe to return to work if COVID-safe procedures were in place.
“Our message to workers returning to the city is that we’ve missed you, welcome back,” Lord Mayor Sally Capp said.
“We want Melbourne businesses to thrive again because they are a vital part of what makes our city great.
“Our research shows that while many people have embraced greater flexibility and convenience working from home, they don’t want to live at work. More than 90 per cent of people were willing to return to the office.
“Almost 60 per cent of people surveyed wanted to return for improved health and wellbeing, and 53 per cent were motivated by the improved productivity of the office environment.
“The research shows people miss the benefits of working face-to-face, including the increased collaboration and socialising, along with the atmosphere and buzz of the city.”
The Lord Mayor said business leaders have a critical role to play in bringing people safely back to the workplace, with more than half those interviewed indicating their decision to return was largely influenced by their direct manager or CEO.
“We welcome the Victorian Government’s decisions to continue the staged return to workplaces and, when the time is right, the City of Melbourne is committed to having 100 per cent of our workforce return safely.”
“We encourage employers across the city to do the same as restrictions ease,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We are working with the Victorian Government and the business community to ensure workers feel confident they are returning to a COVID-safe environment.”
Roy Morgan conducted 503 interviews with a sample of central city workers between Friday 27 November and Thursday 10 December 2020.
Key findings include:
Almost two thirds of respondents were either willing to return to their central Melbourne workplaces or had already returned by late November and December, while 44 per cent were willing to return and 15 per cent had already returned.
More than 90 per cent of workers willing to return to work.
COVID-safe procedures and adherence to measures was the most commonly cited factor
leading to people feeling safe to return to work.
64 per cent of respondents said the city atmosphere was a drawcard and motivated them to
return, including the opportunity to go to cafes, support local businesses and enjoy the buzz of
City Activation portfolio chair, Councillor Roshena Campbell, said prior to COVID-19 city workers made
up almost half of our city’s average daily population so their safe return is critical to keeping city
businesses viable and Melburnians in jobs.
“Melbourne faces a new challenge of trying to create economic growth after the devastating effects of
the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cr Campbell said.
“Having office workers begin to return today is an important step forward for city businesses that have
recently endured some of the toughest trading conditions in generations.
“City workers returning to their offices will be critical to our economic recovery and we want to
encourage them to come back safely as soon as possible.
“We’re already seeing more people return to Melbourne each day, enjoying the restaurants, shops,
bars and art galleries that make Melbourne the engine room of Victoria’s economy.
A summary of the Roy Morgan research is available here.
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