Work hygiene | Could COVID-19 spell the end of office tea rounds?

Could COVID-19 spell the end of office tea rounds?

The tea round in an office is a familiar aspect every employee will remember from the office.

The words ‘do you fancy a cuppa?’ sadly haven’t been uttered in the workplace for some time due to the pandemic, and it seems that the coronavirus pandemic may halt the tea round from taking place in the future.

With lockdown easing and workers slowly beginning to return to the office, where social distancing measures and increased cleaning will be put in place to keep staff safe, many Brits have expressed concerns over making cups of tea and letting their co-workers pour one for them.

According to Real Business, a study conducted by print firm Solopress discovered that more than a quarter of respondents now feel uneasy about making hot drinks for their team members. It also revealed that 33% of UK professionals don’t trust their colleagues to follow proper hygiene guidelines.

It seems that many workers are also uncomfortable with the idea of pre-pandemic office regularities, for example, 44% of employees stated they were nervous about sharing equipment, communal spaces (35%) and bathrooms (30%) with other staff members.

Women are less likely to trust a colleague’s hygiene (42%) the research found and are ten per cent more likely to enjoy working from home than their male counterparts.

In addition, almost one in five employers stated that they are worried about employee hygiene and safe commutes, but 20% shared that they are anxious about staff not wanting to come back to the workplace.

Employers also added that they have concerns over staff productivity while working from home, as just 11% of UK bosses said that they believe employees are being more productive during this time.

Top five employer concerns for reopening:

  1. Employees being able to safely commute – 21%

  2. Employees not wanting to back to the office – 20%

  3. Not trusting that employees will be practising proper hygiene – 18%

  4. Employees with childcare responsibilities unable to work normal office hours – 16%

  5. Lack of understanding of the Government guidance on re-opening offices – 11%

“Whilst it’s great for the UK economy that businesses are starting to reopen, it’s clear there are concerns about safety and hygiene with over half of the British workforce not trusting that their colleagues are following the Government guidelines,” Simon Cooper, Managing Director of Solopress said.

“With just a little investment in protective products and essential equipment, businesses can help ease these concerns and make the move back to the office as comfortable as possible," he added.

What are employers doing?

Solopress’ study revealed that employers are rolling out increased safety measures and initiatives to keep staff safe and ease anxieties as professionals return back to work.

From our magazine

After employees shared what they would like to see – over half (59%) voted for hand sanitiser stations, 33% called for social distancing floor stickers and a further 33% said face masks were also crucial to reopening a workspace  bosses shared what they would do.

For example, 69% stated that they will make hand sanitiser stations a permanent workplace addition, with 80% claiming that this was one of the more important ways to ensure staff safety.

Have you enjoyed this piece?

Subscribe now to myGrapevine+ and get access to exclusive new content, and the full content archive.

Be the first to comment.

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for the next 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.