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The end of COVID-19: What the workforce thinks about returning to the office

As vaccination rates increase it’s time to start thinking about the world post-pandemic, and business leaders should use this Glassdoor survey as a way to gauge how they respond.

Coworking and corporate colleagues working in office

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A survey of United States workers performed by Glassdoor found that the national workforce has some very particular opinions about what the workplace should look like in the post-pandemic world, including the fact that 86% want to continue working from home at least part of the time.

The COVID-19 pandemic started just around a year ago, and it seems like we may finally be glimpsing a light at the end of the Zoom-heavy tunnel we’ve been in for the past 12 months. Vaccination rates are increasing in the U.S. and around the globe, and President Joseph Biden said there will be enough vaccines for every American who wants one by mid-May. 

With those facts in mind, it’s time for the business world to start thinking about what comes next. “Employers must take employee feedback into account to determine what is best for their workforce, including how to best support employees who plan to get the vaccine, and employees who do not,” said Carina Cortez, Glassdoor chief people officer. 

SEE: COVID-19 workplace policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Seventy percent of employees, the survey found, want COVID-19 vaccines to be required for employees who want to return to the office. Those numbers are higher for employees ages 35 to 44, of whom 84% want a vaccine mandate, as opposed to only 58% of 18- to 34-year-olds.

Most may want a vaccine requirement, but most don’t consider that a necessary condition for employment: Only 23% said they would quit if they were required to return to the office before all employees were vaccinated.  

Strong opinions on the vaccination of coworkers is reflected in the rate at which respondents said they plan to get vaccinated. Seventy-six percent said they’ll get the shot once it’s available to them, and as with the opinion on requirements, there’s a split between age groups. Eighty-one percent between ages 35 and 44 said they plan to get the vaccine, while only 66% of the 18-34 group plan to. A quarter of respondents said they don’t plan to get the vaccine.

Most employees would also appreciate employer incentives for getting the vaccine, with 69% saying companies should offer financial incentives like cash bonuses or extra PTO. Sixty-eight percent said they would be more likely to get the vaccine if such an incentive program was in place in their business. 

SEE: Big data’s role in COVID-19 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Lastly, it seems that employee opinions on working from home, as mentioned above, are near universal: 86% said they want to continue working remotely at least part of the time once offices reopen. Seventeen percent even take a hard-line position on their remote work: They’d consider quitting if they were required to return to the office five days a week, regardless of their opinion on vaccine requirements, incentives, or the like. 

Remote work is here to stay” has been a common refrain since mid-2020, with plenty of experts weighing in on what seems to be the likely course of the future of business. Glassdoor’s findings reflect that employees agree with those assessments, and business leaders would do well not to ignore their opinions as the world starts to reopen and prepare for life in a post-COVID world. 

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This post was written by and was first posted to TechRepublic

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