Detroit Regional Chamber > Poll Results: Workers’ Top Concerns During COVID-19 Crisis

Poll Results: Workers’ Top Concerns During COVID-19 Crisis

April 21, 2020
Who is worried most about COVID-19? How long will it take residents to recover financially? The results may surprise you.

In the coming weeks, employers across Michigan will do something we’ve never done before: Re-activate the economy after a forced shutdown due to a global pandemic.

In this unchartered territory, understanding the state of mind of our consumers and employees will be critical to successfully re-opening the economy. The Detroit Regional Chamber recently commissioned a statewide COVID-19 impact poll – and it gives us insight in what our employees and customers are feeling.

Confidence in Workplace Safety Will Remain Fragile and Vary from Workplace to Workplace

Nearly 1 in 5 employees (18%) still working as normal believe they have contracted COVID-19. In addition, 14% of those currently working from home believe they have COVID-19. As we reopen our workplaces we must keep this top-of-mind both for those who believe they have been exposed and those concerned about being exposed in the future.

While it’s a positive that 61% of respondents who are furloughed, unemployed, or working from home stated they would feel safe returning to work – that still leaves 32% of these workers who stated they did not feel safe.

What does this mean?

This crisis has intertwined workplace and individual health concerns broadly across all industries like never before. Many employees are currently giving their employers the benefit of the doubt on safety, but much will need to be done to earn and maintain the confidence of our workforce.

Major to Catastrophic Financial Impact to Households Will Linger for a Long Time

A staggering 69% of furloughed or laid-off workers reported facing catastrophic to major financial impact while 28% of all respondents are worried about putting food on the table. As we approach employees in a holistic fashion, we have to take into consideration the widely felt trauma and stress that has occurred over the past two months.

39% of all respondents said it would take a couple of months to one year for their finances to return to normal. For those respondents who had been furloughed, laid off or who cannot work — that jumps up to 56%.

What does this mean?

Many employees present and future have had their finances flipped upside down and will be dealing with the repercussions and financial pressures for a very long time, in many cases longer than their place of employment will.

Younger Workers Feeling More Concerned About Finances, Putting Food on Table

While 47% of Michigan respondents said the financial impact on their household was catastrophic or major, those percentages increase notably for younger workers.

59% of residents aged 30 to 39 said the impact was catastrophic or major while it was 51% for respondents under 30.

The same trend held true among younger workers in other categories of the survey. While 28% of all Michigan respondents expressed concerns over putting food on the table, those percentages increased to 45% for those aged 18 to 29 and 40% of those aged 30 to 39.

Those who believed they had contracted COVID-19 also had sharp differences based on age.

Percentage       Age Bracket

13%                     18-29

16%                     30-39

6%                       40-49

9%                       50-64

4%                       65+

What does this mean?

It serves as a good reminder that our employees have different circumstances and challenges at various stages in their careers and will experience and respond in the post-COVID-19 era differently.

For full survey results and background, click here.