Press release:

JITTERS AND JABS: UK workers set for nervous return to a workplace radically transformed by Covid-19

Monday 19 July 2021
  • Just over half of managers would only feel safe if they and their colleagues are double jabbed
  • Workplace covid safety measures to stay in place post ‘Freedom Day’ as managers express concerns about Covid related absences
  • Chartered Management Institute (CMI) calling for flexibility and clear communication to smooth the post lockdown transition

Staff returning to the workplace from today (Monday July 19) could find themselves in a place barely recognisable from pre-Covid-19 times.

As ‘Freedom Day’ dawns, 81% of managers, with staff still working remotely as a result of the pandemic, report as lockdown lifts at least some of these employees will be asked to return to the office on a full time basis. As the great workplace return begins, a picture of concern has emerged, in a new poll from the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

For starters half of managers (50%) think the Government is easing the Covid restrictions too quickly, while just under two fifths (39%) said restrictions are being eased at the right pace. Another major potential flashpoint in the workplace is conflicting attitudes regarding Covid Jabs. The poll found over half (54%) of managers would only feel reassured that their workplace was safe if not only they, but also their colleagues, were double jabbed. However, almost a fifth (19%) of managers polled said the jabs would make no difference.(i)

Older managers (aged over 45) placed more faith in the efficacy of jabs than younger ones with 62% of Baby Boomers and 57% of Gen X managers saying they were most likely to feel secure if both they and colleagues were double jabbed.(ii) This compared to 50% for Millennial managers, whilst 22% of Millennials say jabs wouldn't make a difference to how secure they felt.

Concerns relating to the so-called ‘pingdemic’ of people being told to self isolate by the NHS track and trace app, were also apparent, with 53% of managers concerned that staff being forced to self isolate would impact day to day operations.

Government may be ditching the vast majority of Covid restrictions with ‘Freedom Day’ but CMI's findings show that businesses are taking a decidedly more conservative approach, with 76% of managers saying previously implemented Covid safety measures would remain.

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, said:

It’s clear that the workplace is going to be a very different place to what it was in March 2020, and there’s some major differences of opinion on health-related issues within the UK workforce.

But many employees think 'Freedom Day' has arrived too soon and plan to carry on with caution by keeping previous Covid safety measures in place. No doubt the lack of clarity and consistency in Government messaging has left managers confused and anxious.

Managers need to keep communicating with staff and to be as flexible as possible regarding different ways of working. Failure to deal with these new challenges effectively could result in a two tier workforce and an employee exodus. This is uncharted territory for many managers, and to help avoid this CMI has launched a Better Manager’s Roadmap. It’s a free guide to help employers successfully manage in the radically altered workplace.

To download the Better Manager’s Roadmap: Reflect, Reskill, Rebuild visit:

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Media contact:

Antony Quarrell Press Officer

Notes to editors

  1. The core findings in this release were sourced from a Manager's Voice survey conducted between 9th and 14th July 2021 and 2 June 2021. A total of 1,373 UK-based managers responded. The Managers Voice is a bimonthly survey of all paying CMI members. The findings relate to practising managers in employment (employed and furloughed) in the UK.
  2. Although we cannot map perfectly to the Generations due to age brackets, we classify Gen Z as 24 and under, millennials as 25 - 44, Gen X as 45 - 54 and Baby Boomers as 55+. Millennials and Gen Z were grouped together due to low bases for Gen Z

About the Chartered Management Institute (CMI)

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) is the Chartered professional body for Management and Leadership, counting over 163,000 managers and leaders in its membership community. There are currently over 11,000 Chartered Managers and growing.

Backed by a unique Royal Charter, CMI is the only organisation able to award Chartered Manager status - the ultimate management accolade, which is proven to boost individuals’ career prospects, management capability, and impact in the workplace.