Factors associated with non-essential workplace attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK in early 2021: evidence from cross-sectional surveys

S. Michie*, H. W.W. Potts, R. West, R. Amlȏt, L. E. Smith, N. T. Fear, G. J. Rubin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Working from home where possible is important in reducing the spread of COVID-19. In early 2021, a quarter of people in England who believed they could work entirely from home reported attending their workplace. To inform interventions to reduce this, this study examined associated factors. Study design: Data from the ongoing COVID-19 Rapid Survey of Adherence to Interventions and Responses survey series of nationally representative samples of people in the UK aged 16+ years in January–February 2021 were used. Methods: The study sample was 1422 respondents who reported that they could work completely from home. The outcome measure was self-reported workplace attendance at least once during the preceding week. Factors of interest were analysed in three blocks: 1) sociodemographic variables, 2) variables relating to respondents’ circumstances and 3) psychological variables. Results: 26.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 24.5%–29.1%) of respondents reported having attended their workplace at least once in the preceding week. Sociodemographic variables and living circumstances significantly independently predicted non-essential workplace attendance: male gender (odds ratio [OR] = 1.85, 95% CI = 1.33–2.58); dependent children in the household (OR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.17–2.32); financial hardship (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.08–1.21); lower socio-economic grade (C2DE; OR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.19–2.53); working in sectors such as health or social care (OR = 4.18, 95% CI = 2.56–6.81), education and childcare (OR = 2.45, 95% CI = 1.45–4.14) and key public service (OR = 3.78, 95% CI = 1.83–7.81) and having been vaccinated (OR = 2.08, 95% CI = 1.33–3.24). Conclusions: Non-essential workplace attendance in the UK in early 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic was significantly independently associated with a range of sociodemographic variables and personal circumstances. Having been vaccinated, financial hardship, socio-economic grade C2DE, having a dependent child at home and working in certain key sectors were associated with higher likelihood of workplace attendance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health
Volume198
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme . LS, RA and GJR are supported by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response, a partnership between Public Health England (PHE), King's College London and the University of East Anglia. RA is also supported by the NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation, a partnership between PHE and the University of Bristol. HWWP receives funding from PHE and NHS England. NTF is partly funded by a grant from the UK Ministry of Defence. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR, PHE, the Department of Health and Social Care or the Ministry of Defence. Surveys were commissioned and funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with the authors providing advice on the question design and selection. DHSC had no role in analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. Preliminary results were made available to the DHSC and the UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Services and Delivery Research Programme. LS, RA and GJR are supported by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response, a partnership between Public Health England (PHE), King's College London and the University of East Anglia. RA is also supported by the NIHR HPRU in Behavioural Science and Evaluation, a partnership between PHE and the University of Bristol. HWWP receives funding from PHE and NHS England. NTF is partly funded by a grant from the UK Ministry of Defence. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR, PHE, the Department of Health and Social Care or the Ministry of Defence. Surveys were commissioned and funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), with the authors providing advice on the question design and selection. DHSC had no role in analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript. Preliminary results were made available to the DHSC and the UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Personal circumstances
  • Sociodemographic variables
  • Workplace attendance

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