Survey reveals employees' thoughts on employers' response to Covid-19

Consulta asked more than 1,000 South Africans what they were most worried about.

Market researcher Consulta has released results of a survey in which it asked more than 1,000 South Africans, who are part of its online research community (known as the ConsultaPanel) how Covid-19 has impacted their work and relationships with their employers, among other things. 

Conducted between 6 and 10 April 2020, it found that 7 out of every 10 continued to work during the lockdown period (initially scheduled from 27 March to 16 April). Of the entire sample size, 16 percent were in essential services, while 43 percent of respondents would work from home during this time. 

About half all respondents expected a decline in their income during this time, while the other half were more optimistic, reporting that they expect their income to remain stable at least until the end of lockdown.

With regard to their relationship with employers, 60 percent of respondents felt that their employer had done a good job at implementing the necessary safety measures in place to protect them from contracting the virus in the workplace.

Twenty-seven percent needed their employers to provide the necessary tools to work remotely, such as internet connectivity, while 20 percent wanted their employer to demonstrate their duty of care by providing the necessary protective clothing and equipment to those who still need to work, such as protective gear and regular deep cleaning of the work environment.

All respondents were asked what their employers could do to show care and build trust during this time and around 40 percent mentioned the need to stay connected during the lockdown period, and for the organisation to keep employees updated on any new developments while making sure everyone was clear about expectations during the lockdown. A further 12 percent wanted their managers to show clear direction, stating that they required more ‘human’ engagement and non-financial support.

Some employees -  about 6 percent - felt differently, saying they preferred to be left alone to do their job, without someone checking over their shoulder. Interestingly, 18 percent felt that their employers could not do any more than that had already done as all necessary precautionary measures had been taken.