Italians have no doubts between health and work: more concerned about the second aspect, they plan to return to the office regularly from September, closing the smart working chapter, with the hope of permanently maintaining some of its undoubted advantages.

They are the compatriots photographed by a research conducted by  BCW Burson Cohn & Wolfe  (one of the largest full-service communication agencies globally) in July in four countries of continental Europe (France, Germany, Spain and Italy) on 1600 workers. At the center of the study is the attitude of the population of working age towards returning to work, the management of communications by companies during the lockdown phase and agile work.

The survey data – For one in two Italians it is a priority to reopen the economy. The second wave of the virus worries us, but less than it worries others. Italy is the only market in which it is more stated that the priority is to reopen the economy (52%) rather than prevent the spread of Coronavirus (48%) against a European average of 63% of respondents still fearful (with 73% of Spain). Also with regard to the second wave of the virus, Italians are concerned (77%) but to a lesser extent than France (88%) and Spain (96%).

In particular, Italy is the European country that sees less risk than others in returning to work (16%) and opening non-essential businesses (15%) but also in the hospitality sector (restaurants, bars, hotel – 34%). 28% of those interviewed in Italy expect to return to work regularly in September (Spain and France even from August). As many as 75% feel absolutely comfortable going back to work tomorrow too. However, 48% are afraid of taking the virus homeand 29% do not trust their colleagues to follow the necessary attention. However, 58% believe that their employer has taken all necessary precautions (slightly below the European average of 62%). It is the image of a country that is certainly still cautious and cautious but which shows all the will to regularly resume its life with the necessary attention.

The relationship with companies and employers – Italians think they have been treated carefully by their employer (in an excellent or good way for 79%, in line with the European average of 80%) also as regards mental health and general well-being (73% also in line with the European average of 74%). 80% of employees also claim to have been adequately informed by their company (European average of 77%). Nonetheless, the desire for more communications and insurance emerges on the part of Italian workers and poor alignment / delays with respect to what was announced by the institutions. 38% say they are satisfied with one communication per week and 26% sometimes a month.

The future of work: central work-life balance and flexibility for Italians –  Although the current work situation is appreciated by the majority (65%) and only 27% want to change their lives (against a European average of 34% with 40% of Spain), 69% of Italians are inclined to consider a greater work-life balance for the future (against a European average of 62%). 66% say working from home will be more accepted and 63% say flexible working hours will be more common.

72% think remote work is important (against an average of 66% in Europe). Flexible working hours and the possibility of agile work are considered the greatest benefits (above the European average). Strong appreciation also for private health insurance (36%). 55% of Italian workers believe that the current situation will lead to a change in the evaluation of their work more based on actual performance (above the European average of 52%). 57%, however, want to stay on the current system of 5 working days a week, well above the European average of 52% and Spain’s 48%.

“We wanted to probe the perception in some European countries to better understand the propensity and fears of workers – says Elena Silva,Co-Market Leader of BCW Burson Cohn & Wolfe Italy – towards the return to normal in the workplace in the context of the COVID 19 health emergency. Despite an understandable degree of concern, Italians are ready to give their contribution to the recovery economic in a very short time. It is interesting to note how the workers felt protected by the companies also on the internal communication front, offering however interesting guidelines for improvement. It is, however, the address for the future that sees Italians particularly mature. The COVID 19 period was a moment of reflection on one’s professional life in its organisational aspect and in the work-life balance.”