Bospar, the boutique PR firm that puts tech companies on the map, announced the results of its first study of COVID-19. The agency discovered that 62.6% Americans are worried about the virus, a member of the coronavirus family, and 49.4% are planning to cancel trips due to the virus. In fact, 55.3% of Americans are worried about contracting the coronavirus this year and 42.9% of Americans are worried they will contract it in a few weeks. More than a third of Americans (35.4%) are worried the coronavirus will kill them and 45.8% are worried the coronavirus will kill a loved one.
The number one reason people are worried about contracting COVID-19 is that they work in an open office. That was the fear of 50.6% of Americans. In fact, a majority of Americans (52.9%) think open offices will lead to an uptick of the coronavirus infection and 41% of them think their open office will be a hotbed of infection. A majority of Americans (51.4%) think that viruses like COVID-19 and the flu will lead to more companies adopting virtual offices, but only 37.7% believe that viruses like the coronavirus and the flu will lead to open offices going away. More than a third of Americans (35.9%) think companies should immediately make their employees work from home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
“Open office spaces are among the worst for COVID-19, particularly if they are sealed office spaces without open ventilation and the air is just recirculated within the building,” said E Hanh Le, M.D., senior director of medical affairs at Healthline. “That’s because, like with other communicable airborne illnesses, COVID-19 is spread from coughing, sneezing, or talking as the virus travels through respiratory drops. Current data suggests that the virus may also survive on surfaces for several hours, if not days, but we do not know that definitively yet. To reduce the risk of spreading infection, concerned companies should enforce work from home policies to keep contagion down.”
“We conducted this research because media have seen our past study on Americans disliking open offices,” said Curtis Sparrer, a principal at Bospar. “Now, in the age of the coronavirus, a majority of Americans are identifying open offices as the number one threat to their health. We believe this should be a wake-up call for corporate America. More companies should immediately implement work from home strategies to prevent contagion and several companies should consider whether they need a physical office at all.”
“While 62.6% of office workers are concerned about COVID-19, it’s also interesting to see that only 41% feel their office will be a hotbed of infection,” said Gabrielle Ayala, principal of Propeller Insights. “Perhaps their awareness and sensitivity to this public health concern will drive proactive measures to keep the virus from entering their work environment. More than 50% say they believe the COVID-19 outbreak will lead to more companies adopting a virtual office environment and are also in favor of using preventative measures, such as face masks, at the office.”
The largest number of Americans (40.2%) say they really started worrying about the coronavirus when the media first reported outbreaks in China. That was followed with 32.8% saying they started worrying about the disease when the financial markets started crashing and 23.4% say they started worrying when President Trump held a press conference claiming the current number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. is “going very substantially down, not up.” More than a third (34.9%) say the coronavirus will be the worst health risk the human race faces. A majority of Americans (52%) say the media is overhyping the coronavirus and 60.9% believe the media can help ease fears about the coronavirus by educating members of the public about how they could fight the spread of the disease. Finally, 20% say they are not drinking Corona beer because of the coronavirus.
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