A healthcare worker fills out a Covid-19 vaccination card in the Bronx, New York.
Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images
According to a new survey by Arizona State University with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, more than 60% of businesses in the US require proof of vaccination from their employees.
A large majority of US employers, 65%, plan to incentivize employees to get vaccinated, and 63% need proof of vaccination, according to the survey. Overall, 44% require all employees to be vaccinated, 31% only encourage vaccinations, and 14% require some employees to be vaccinated.
Regarding the consequences of not complying with the company’s vaccination policy, 42% of companies said the employee was not allowed to return to the physical work environment, and 35% said disciplinary action, up to and including possible termination, was on the table.
The poll, released on Thursday, represents responses from 957 facilities in 24 industries in the United States. Most of the respondents were companies with 250 or more employees.
Tests are still crucial for employers. 70% of respondents are currently doing Covid tests, most of which are mandatory.
When it comes to employee wellbeing, company respondents said burnout increased by 54% and overall mental health concerns increased by 59%. However, morale and productivity also increase by almost 50%.
Looking ahead, 66% of employers plan to allow workers to work full-time from home by 2021 and 73% plan to offer flexible working arrangements when the pandemic is over. However, 73% of companies want employees to work from the office for at least 20 hours a week.
“This is not just a bubble going ‘back to normal’. There will be some positive flexibility after the pandemic ends, and we will be back to work personally,” said Mara G. Aspinall, a professor at the College of Arizona State University Health Solutions and one of the authors of the survey.
According to the survey, employees are primarily concerned about their personal health, the risk of infection, and workplace safety. 38 percent of employees want to return at some point, but not immediately, and about a quarter said they don’t want to return at all, according to the companies that responded to the survey.
“The pandemic has changed the traditional office environment in many ways, possibly forever, but the majority of employers say they see real value in having employees continue to interact face-to-face,” said Nathaniel L. Wade, Co-author of the study, which is also affiliated with ASU’s College of Health Solutions. “We really wanted to make sure we were giving public information so people could make good decisions.”
Most employees, around 51%, would prefer to wait until the government or health authorities allow them to return to work, and around 47% said they would return to personal work when all of the workforce is vaccinated.
“Employers have been relatively calm during the pandemic. We are now entering the next phase where employers are creating their own guidelines so that employees can return to work safely and sustainably,” said Aspinall. “People want to get back to normal, but they want to do it safely.”