Your Employees’ Mindset on Safety? What to Know as You Reopen

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View the full findings from the May Michigan Voter Poll,.


Employers are entering unchartered territory.

They are reopening after a global pandemic brought the economy to a screeching halt for more than 8 weeks. And while the COVID-19 curve has flattened, for now, there isn’t a vaccine likely soon and testing is not as widespread as many health care officials would like.

It’s a recipe for an unnerving work environment requiring precise communication and thoughtful policy.

As employers are now fine-tuning or adjusting their reopening strategies, here is what the Chamber’s most recent statewide poll told us about the employee mindset regarding workplace safety.

A Majority of Workers Are Ready to Return to Work, Trust Employers

A majority of workers of businesses of all sizes are comfortable going back to work and trust their employers.

  • 66.1% of workers feel safe going back to work, and 32.7% of workers do not yet feel safe returning to the workplace. Note that the Chamber’s April poll indicated that 61% of respondents felt safe or somewhat safe returning to the workplace.
  • By a margin of 77%-19.6%, workers trust their workplace to keep them safe. This is an increase from 60% in April.

Small Business Employees Feel the Most Comfortable

Small business employees feel the most comfortable returning to their place of employment, with 83.3% for businesses employing 11 to 25 persons.

Number of Employees     Safe                 Unsafe

1-10                                         76.3%              21.9%

11-25                                       83.3%              16.7%

26-100                                     58.7%              41.3%

101-500                                   63.3%              35.0%

500+                                        50.0%              47.2%

Workers Support Three Major Safety Precautions

Workers were read four different things their workplace might do to keep them safe at work.  For each, respondents were asked to rate on a one to 10 scale how safe that would make them, with 10 being the safest. Three ranked higher than seven.

  • 7.6 Require that everyone maintains at least a six-foot distance from each other.
  • 7.4 Require that everyone wears a mask during the workday.
  • 7.2 Require that everyone has their temperature checked as they come into work.

When asked in an open-ended question what one thing employers could do to make them more comfortable, seven different answers rose above 5%.

  • 11.5% require masks.
  • 10.5% follow CDC guidelines.
  • 9.2% maintain social distancing/ or allow work at home.
  • 9.2% conduct extreme cleaning and sanitizing.
  • 7.1% provide personal protection equipment.
  • 6.1% screen upon entering the facility.
  • 5.9% have open communication with workers.

Outstate Workers, Men Generally Feel Safer

Demographic results from the poll show:

  • Outstate workers feel safe by a margin of 78.7%-19.7%.
  • Detroit Metro workers feel safe by a margin of 53.8%-45.2%.
  • Men feel safe by a margin of 73.7%-23.7%.
  • Women feel safe by a margin of 58.3%-41.7%.
  • African American workers feel unsafe by a margin of 40.0%-57.8%
  • White workers feel safe by a margin of 70.8%-28.2%.

View the full findings from the May Michigan Voter Poll.

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