71% of U.S. Workers Don’t Feel Completely Safe in Their Buildings

A survey conducted by Honeywell also found that 29% of remote workers would quit before returning to a risky worksite.

71% of U.S. Workers Don’t Feel Completely Safe in Their Buildings

Atlanta, Georgia — Honeywell (NYSE: HON) on Wednesday released the results of a comprehensive study on workers’ perceptions and feelings on the health and safety of their workplace. Conducted by Wakefield Research, the study surveyed 500 workers who typically work in buildings with 500 or more employees across the United States and was part of a global study in at total of four markets.

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The findings show that a staggering majority of the U.S. workforce (71%) does not feel completely safe working in their employer’s buildings. This number is even higher for those working remotely (82%), who are especially skeptical about the safety of work sites. In fact, nearly 3 in 10 remote workers (29%) would look for a new job rather than return to a site that did not implement necessary safety measures.

“Workers are keenly attuned to the steps employers are taking to make their workspaces safer and healthier, especially when it comes to air quality and adherence to safety guidelines, which wasn’t previously a concern for some people,” said Vimal Kapur, president and chief executive officer of Honeywell Building Technologies. “Air quality, for example, is not something that will be dismissed once we’re on the other side of this pandemic. It will be essential to the occupant experience, and good air quality will help make workers feel more comfortable as they return back to their offices.”

The surveyed workers’ concerns echo the latest scientific research on the spread of COVID-19,1,2 with 59% of those being more concerned about transmission through the air than through contact with a surface. In terms of what poses a bigger threat to their safety, 64% point to co-workers not following safety guidelines and 36% believe outdated ventilation systems. C-level and executive-level workers are more likely to recognize the threat of poor air quality with nearly half (47%) of those surveyed indicating outdated ventilation as a bigger threat.

Nearly half of U.S. surveyed workers (48%) agree that their building management has not taken the steps necessary to keep them safer on the job, and 61% believe their building is more likely to make short-term changes in response to the pandemic versus long-term investments in building systems. Surveyed workers are most worried that building management will not consistently enforce health and safety guidelines (49%), followed by worry that they won’t consistently invest in new technology to make working in-person safer (26%).

“Many facilities have made changes to their procedures but have not invested in the building itself and their occupants have noticed,” Kapur said. “Workers are going to demand more from buildings in the future, and we’re even seeing with these survey results that creating a healthier and safer environment will be a differentiator for staff retention and recruiting, and it may also impact long-term real estate value.”

To return to work and feel safer, U.S. surveyed workers view health safety protocols such as social distancing or mandatory masks as most critical (57%), and, in fact, 61% of those working on-site have seen such updates happen. Other top health and safety measures that surveyed workers want include health screening protocols such as temperature checks (49%), enhanced cleaning procedures (45%), updated air quality systems (28%), touchless door entries (28%) and technology for contact tracing (19%).

Honeywell’s Healthy Buildings solutions help building owners improve their building environments, operate more cleanly and safely, comply with social distancing policies, and help reassure occupant safety. By integrating air quality, safety and security technologies along with advanced analytics, Honeywell’s Healthy Buildings solutions are designed to help reduce potential risks of contamination and improve business continuity by monitoring both the building environment and building occupants’ behaviors.

To view the full report, click here.


The Honeywell survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 500 workers in buildings of 500+ workers in the U.S., between November 19th and December 1st, 2020, using an email invitation and an online survey. This was part of a global study of 2,000 people that took place in the U.K., Germany and the Middle East. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation.

The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 2.2 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About Honeywell Building Technologies

Honeywell Building Technologies (HBT) is a global business with more than 20,000 employees. HBT creates products, software and technologies found in more than 10 million buildings worldwide. Commercial building owners and operators use our technologies to help create safe, energy efficient, sustainable and productive facilities. For more news and information on Honeywell Building Technologies, visit http://www.honeywell.com/newsroom. Honeywell (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 technology company that delivers industry specific solutions that include aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings and industry; and performance materials globally. Our technologies help aircraft, buildings, manufacturing plants, supply chains, and workers become more connected to make our world smarter, safer, and more sustainable. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywell.com/newsroom.

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