Just two in five charity offices plan to reopen after the final lockdown restrictions are lifted, reveals survey

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23rd July 2021 11:12 - Voluntary

Just two in five charity offices planned to reopen after the final lockdown: A survey of charity leaders undertaken before Covid restrictions were lifted in the UK after its third lockdown has revealed that just 39% planned to fully reopen after restrictions were eased, with nearly a third (30%) saying they won’t reopen their offices at all.

The research by specialist insurer, Ecclesiastical, was conducted to reveal the impact of the pandemic on charities and, more specifically, their views on the reopening of their offices. It found that one of the main reasons for not reopening was due to staff feeling anxious about returning to the office, with three in five employees or volunteers expressing their concerns. Furthermore, 48% of those surveyed stated their apprehension about their staff returning to offices after a long time of working remotely.

When asked about the reasons for their apprehension, 58% had concerns about catching Covid, while 35% stated they thought service users would refuse to wear masks. A further third said they believed colleagues and service users would not adhere to social distancing measures.

Three in 10 stated they plan to follow a fully remote working model in order to maintain the working pattern that has been adopted since the start of the pandemic. In addition, 45% said they would operate a flexible working model in order to accommodate those who found remote working challenging.

Many participants stated the difficulties they faced when working from home, with nearly a third (31%) reporting issues such as childcare and home schooling when working remotely. Furthermore, 28% said they felt fatigued as a result of working from home.

Angus Roy, Charity Niche Director for Ecclesiastical Insurance, said: ‘Ahead of any potential reopening of office space it’s only natural that there will be some trepidation among staff and volunteers about how that may look. It’s important that charities listen to these concerns, engage with their staff and set out a plan that works for all parties.’

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