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Free question set #3: How do your employees feel about being back to work?

7 Oct 2020 - Blog, Covid-19, News

Free question set #3: How do your employees feel about being back to work?

As Autumn kicks in, and we’re back to work and school, it looks like we will be living with Covid for some time.

We’ve transitioned from temporary measures to something more permanent. In many workplaces, people need to work on-site in Covid secure environments that are safe and practical.  Other roles will continue at home for an extended period, dealing with the challenges of collaborating effectively with colleagues at a distance.

People Insight Free Question Sets

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve provided a series of free question sets.

Developed by our organisational psychologists, they help leaders consult their people and listen to their ideas and experiences, so that they can shape actions, responses, plans and communications accordingly.

1. Employee engagement during Covid-19

2. Consult your employees about returning to work

3. How do your employees feel about being back to work?

So why survey now?

Right now, change is relentless. Organisations are getting to grips with the end of furlough, changing restrictions and local lockdowns. We’ve had time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t during the early stages of our response to Covid and are turning our temporary measures into something more permanent.


““We chose to survey during Covid-19 because it was extremely important to us to continue to be attentive and responsive to our colleagues during this period of extreme change. As an essential service provider, we wanted to ensure our colleagues had what they needed to operate smoothly amidst the changing circumstances. It was a great opportunity to listen to the concerns and feedback of our people and prioritise our plans accordingly, so everyone’s voice is heard to make Sunbelt Rentals UK an even better place to work.” Steve Lynas, HR Director, Sunbelt Rentals Ltd.


The impact of listening during this time is significant as not only does it glean valuable feedback, but helps employees feel involved, important and part of the changes. Indeed, during the pandemic, the organisations that have listened and adapted report a 7% increase in employee engagement.


Get my free back to work question set

Back to work survey question themes

The questions are grouped into the following themes:

  1. Confidence – in the organisation’s leaders, their ability to steer through the current situation and come out strong
  2. Organisational change – do I feel involved, and are the changes being made effectively
  3. Remote working – can individuals work and collaborate effectively, are they well supported
  4. On-site working – do employees feel safe and can they work effectively within the measures
  5. Fairness – do employees perceive they are treated fairly, whether working from home, on site, back from furlough or having worked through lockdown
  6. Learning – from the lockdown experience about what we should start, stop and continue going forwards

The back to work question set includes closed questions with a 5-point response scale. In addition, there are open questions for further probing. Here’s an example:


Theme Closed Question Response Scale Open Question if responded ‘Disagree’ or ‘Strongly Disagree’
Remote Working I believe that we are now well able to continue working remotely for at least the medium term (e.g. the next 6 months). – Strongly agree
– Agree
– Neither agree nor disagree
– Disagree
– Strongly disagree
Please tell us more about your concern.

It may well be appropriate to incorporate some of the questions from some of your previous surveys too, so that you can track progress.

Back to work survey demographics


It’s always a good idea to analyse your survey responses by group such as department, team, role or location to understand where there may be specific problems or strengths that can be learned from. These demographics can often be specific to an organisation’s structure, or relate to protected characteristics – when you are looking to ensure individuals are not discriminated against due to e.g. ethnicity or gender.

We recommend considering the following additional demographics for your back to work survey:


Caring responsibilities – to understand any ongoing strain there may be on home responsibilities

  • Pre-school children
  • School age children
  • Vulnerable adults
  • Other caring responsibilities


Furlough status – to understand how furlough has affected how people feel about their organisation, changes made, fair treatment and confidence going forward

  • Have not been on furlough
  • Have returned from full time furlough
  • Have returned from part time furlough


Place of work – to understand how working location has affected how people feel about their organisation, changes made, fair treatment and confidence going forward

  • Onsite
  • Working from home
  • Both onsite and working from home


How to use the question-set



“We work with People Insight because we have built up a great relationship with everyone that we deal with. They really do understand the whole employee survey journey, and how to maximise the benefits of carrying out a survey…they listen to what we are aiming to achieve and tailor the process to meet our needs. Their support and expertise helped us turn things around quickly and keep up with the pace of change within our organisation.” Steve Lynas, HR Director, Sunbelt Rentals Ltd.



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Related Topics

  1. Employee reboarding after lockdown: A guide
  2. Survey results: How to manage working from home following Covid-19 lockdown
  1. Free question set: Employee engagement during Covid-19
  2. Free question set: Consult your employees about returning to work
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  2. COVID-19: How organisations are adapting
  3. Our favourite wellbeing content to get us through Covid-19 lockdown
  4. Not alone but lonely: How to tackle workplace isolation and improve wellbeing at work


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