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COVID-19 Vaccines Should be Required Before Returning to the Office, Say 70% of Employees

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated March 9, 2021

One whole year. That’s how long it’s been since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic in March 2020. Since then, millions of American employees have found themselves working from home indefinitely and continue to do so. In fact, nearly half (47%) of American employees are currently working from home at least part of the time as a result of COVID-19. As vaccines continue to become more readily available and employees begin to imagine post-pandemic life, we took a closer look to see how they want to work, where they want to work, and how they feel about potentially returning to office life, or not, as many employers now consider how to welcome back employees to offices safely.

A new survey from Glassdoor, the worldwide leader on insights about jobs and companies, conducted online by The Harris Poll revealed that 7 in 10 (70%) U.S. employees who are currently working from home due to COVID-19 believe that workers should be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to the office. And even after offices reopen, nearly 9 in 10 (86%) say they would prefer to continue working from home at least part of the time. 

“COVID-19 has triggered a new wave of employee expectations, from incentives to get a vaccine to more flexible work options, even after it’s safe to return to the office,” said Carina Cortez, Glassdoor Chief People Officer. “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.”

The new survey found that of U.S. employees who are currently working from home due to COVID-19:

Most Believe a COVID-19 Vaccine Should be Required for Return to the Office

  • 7 in 10 (70%) agree that employees should be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to the office
    • Those aged 18-34 are less likely (58%) than those aged 35-44 (84%) to agree that employees should be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to the office
    • Men (74%) are more likely than women (64%) to agree that employees should be required to get a COVID-19 vaccine in order to return to the office

Most Plan to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine — But That’s Not the Case For All Employees

  • Over 3 in 4 (76%) intend to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them
    • Those aged 18-34 (66%) are less likely than those aged 35-44 (81%) to say they intend to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them
  • Nearly 1 in 4 (24%) do not plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them

Employers: Most Want Incentives For Getting a Vaccine

  • 69% agree that employers should offer financial incentives (e.g. cash bonus, more paid time off) to employees for getting vaccinated
  • 68% would be more likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine if their employers incentivized them (e.g. cash bonus, more paid time off) to do so

Most Would Prefer a Hybrid/WFH Model, Even After Offices Reopen 

  • Nearly 9 in 10 (86%) say they would prefer to continue working from home at least part of the time after offices reopen

Despite High Unemployment, Some Would Consider QUITTING Their Jobs Due to COVID-19 Work Requirements

  • Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) would consider quitting their job if they were required to return to the office before all employees have been vaccinated
  • 17% would consider quitting their job if they were required to return to the office 5 days per week (regardless of vaccinations)

Employees Talking About COVID-19 on Glassdoor

COVID-19 continues to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to how the labor market recovers and when employers consider reopening offices, and how employees are talking about COVID’s impact on their workplace experiences. On Glassdoor, between March 1, 2020 and February 15, 2021, over 58,000 reviews (and counting) have mentioned keywords related to COVID-19 and the vaccine. Here’s a sample of what employees have to say:

Glassdoor Now Welcomes its Employees to Work Where They Want 

Glassdoor has also responded to how we support our own employees during the pandemic, and how we plan to support our people going forward. As a leading technology company and global employer, Glassdoor recently introduced its Work Where You Want policy, giving employees more flexibility going forward and allowing employees to choose where they want to work. This can include working remotely, from an office or both. An internal Glassdoor survey revealed 70% of Glassdoor employees prefer a hybrid remote-office work arrangement post-COVID-19.  In Glassdoor’s Workplace Trends 2021 report, Glassdoor’s Chief Economist explains why and how office life will return, but will never be the same.  

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Glassdoor from February 16-18, 2021 among 2,072 adults ages 18 and older, among whom 1,149 are employed and 571 are currently working from home due to COVID-19. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact pr@glassdoor.com.

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