British Columbia

Significant number of workers do not feel safe going back to work, poll suggests

As B.C prepares to move to Phase 3 of the government’s reopening plan and permit more businesses to operate, a new poll suggests a large minority of people are not comfortable returning to their workplaces.

Survey shows only 20 per cent of people feel ‘very comfortable’ returning to the workplace

A poll of B.C. workers suggests 37 percent do not feel comfortable returning to their workplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

As B.C prepares to move to Phase 3 of the government's reopening plan and permit more businesses to operate, a new poll suggests a large minority of people are not comfortable returning to their workplaces, during the COVID-19 pandemic

Late this month, an Insights West poll asked 879 B.C. residents, some of whom had already returned to work, how comfortable they felt dong so, and for those still at home, how they would feel about returning to the workplace.

Only 20 per cent said they were "very comfortable" with the prospect of returning to work, 43 per cent were "somewhat comfortable," 24 per cent were "not very comfortable," and 12 per cent felt "not at all comfortable."

Among the major concerns about returning to work, two-thirds of those polled cited trying to comply with physical distancing rules in their workspaces and common areas. 

Meanwhile, 78 per cent are concerned about catching COVID-19 from a co-worker or customer, even though only 44 per cent are concerned their company isn't taking enough precautions. 

When asked when they would ideally like to return to the workplace, only 13 per cent responded "now," with slightly more opting to go back in September or around the end of the year.

Meanwhile, 25 per cent of respondents said they would prefer to wait until there is a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment and 19 per cent would prefer to work from home permanently.  

The results from Insights West is based on an online survey carried out June 18 to 21, 2020. A comparable margin of error for a probabilistic sample of this size would be plus or minus 3.3 per cent. 

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