Getting Britain Back to Work Survey


70% of workers say UK will suffer long-term damage without imminent return to work according to poll

  • Workforce ready to return to work as soon as possible
  • 1 in 3 UK workers believe pay cuts likely
  • 15% of UK workers believe their businesses may have to close permanently
Scott McKenzie

A major poll commissioned by Montfort Communications, and conducted by Opinium, has revealed that the UK workforce is deeply concerned about the lasting economic impacts of the lockdown. The poll suggests that UK workers support a quick return to work or fear they will experience significant personal impacts. Only 6% of those polled believed that the UK economy would not be harmed by continued lockdown.

Almost half of those not in their usual workplace (45%) are ready to return to work, with only 28% not ready. If social distancing measures are implemented, there is majority support for a range of workplaces to start opening again imminently, including Garden Centres (64%), Factories (62%) and Offices (57%).

When asked about the effects of an extended lockdown to personal income 81% of those who feared a pay cut said that said it could happen by mid-July.

‘These findings appear to show a major sea change in attitudes and tend to contradict recent polls suggesting the general public does not support a speedy return to work’, said Nick Miles, a founding partner of Montfort Communications.

Of those not unready for an imminent return to work the key factor is fear of catching the virus in the workplace (59%) rather than the commute to work (38%). 68% of workers are comfortable with wearing masks and gloves in the office.

The poll also revealed that 52% of UK workers believe that working life is unlikely to return to how it was before March.

Amongst other findings:

  • A third of UK workers (33%) expect a reduction in wages or salary if the lockdown continues, with one fifth of workers (21%) concerned they would be made redundant.
  • 1 in 6 workers (15%) believe their employer is at risk of closing permanently as a result of the crisis.
  • Only 1 in 3 workers has taken time off during the lockdown, leading to the possibility of a surge in holiday-taking immediately after a return to work
  • Senior business decision makers are more concerned about the impact of this crisis on their job, with two thirds (63%) suggesting it will affect their long-term job prospects, compared with less than half (46%) of other workers

“British workers appear to be ready to play a direct and immediate part in kickstarting an economic restart, and are prepared for major changes in the life of work to begin the process” said Miles.

For further comment contact:

Nick Miles / Scott McKenzie / James Olley     +44 (0)20 3514 0897

Notes to Editors

The poll was commissioned by Montfort, a leading business consultancy.

The poll was carried out by Opinium over the period 1-4 May, 2020, using a sample of 4,000 UK workers.