Majority of Czechs rejecting home office – and respirators at work? No thanks

Despite the rise in Covid cases, there is no strong support of working from home or for respirators in the office.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 09.11.2021 11:30:00 (updated on 09.11.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Health Minister Adam Vojtěch last week urged employers to allow their staff to work from home if possible, due to the worsening epidemic situation.

The idea is that home office can help slow down the Covid pandemic by decreasing physical contact. While many employees enjoyed the change and some companies even instituted permanent work-from-home policies, a recent study found that the majority of Czech prefer to go into the office.

A new poll conducted by STEM/Mark for the staffing agency Předvýbě found that just under half of Czechs agree that people should once again work from home due to the rise of Covid. Only 13 percent strongly agreed with the idea of working from home, and another 36 percent tend to agree, totaling 49 percent.

On the other hand, 18 percent strongly disagreed with working from home, and another 18 percent tended to disagree. The remaining 16 percent either had no opinion or felt the question didn’t apply to them.

The survey, conducted last week, polled 510 respondents aged between 18 and 64.

“Despite all the benefits of working from home, which the last two years of lockdowns have confirmed, employees are becoming increasingly aware that contact with colleagues is an important part of working life. And that can't be replaced by internet conferences in the long run,” Předvýběr.CZ’s director František Boudný, said in a press release.

“Lack of mutual contacts shatters the motivation to work. After all, despite the initial enthusiasm for the efficiency of work from home, employers are calling for their teams to return to their offices,” Boudný added.

Are you ready to work from home again?

I never went back to the office after the first wave. 45 %
I'm still going into work and my company has no plans to switch to home office. 13 %
I'm currently working in an office and my company plans to switch to home office. 2 %
My company is doing hybrid home office and going to work. 40 %
312 readers voted on this poll. Voting is closed

Reintroducing the obligation to wear masks or respirators at work was opposed by a majority of the respondents, with 27 percent strongly against the idea, and another 25 percent tending to oppose masks or respirators, adding to 53 percent. Only 41% are in favor, with 14 percent strongly agreeing and 27 percent tending to agree.

Many private companies and some government institutions have allowed people to work at least partly from home since the coronavirus epidemic began in the Czech Republic last year. This applies mainly to office activities.

Work from home caught on, though, when vaccines were not yet available for people in the age group that has jobs. Vaccination was rolled out first for elderly people at the end of December 2020. The first vaccinations for most people under 65 started April 23, 2021, and that was just the first dose.

Most working-age people did not complete vaccination until the summer. By that time, the first wave of the pandemic had died down and many people began to return to the office as restrictions were relaxed.

Home office does not work in every situation. Eva Svobodová, director of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Crafts (AMSP), told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) that employers who, based on the type of work, can offer home office to their staff have already done so as much as possible.

Employers are very aware of the consequences if the disease is introduced into the premises. The risk, she said, remains in non-administrative premises, where employers clearly prefer Covid testing to a ban on unvaccinated employees.

“In the past period, home office has proven to be an ineffective measure for running a regular manufacturing or construction company. Team performance has declined, and error rates have risen," she said.

The Czech Health Ministry has stated that while current restrictions, which for large cultural events will get tougher on Nov. 22, may become even stricter after that if the new wave of the pandemic does not slow down. But another general lockdown is not planned.

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