The popularity of remote work is causing hesitancy among employers to require full-time on-site work, according to the results of a new survey conducted by Troy-based ASE, Michigan’s largest employer association.
The most recent COVID-19 Business Impact Survey, released on May 24 when the state officially allowed in-person work, revealed that slightly more than 10 percent of those surveyed required all or most of their staff to fully return to the workplace on or near May 24.
“In many settings, employees have grown accustomed to remote work and the flexibility it provides,” says Mary E. Corrado, president and CEO of ASE. “As a result, there will be hesitancy to return to the office, now or in the future. Each organization will need to examine what works for their business and their culture. The companies that effectively transition from the pandemic, whether they decide to embrace remote work or not, will be those who have proactively communicated with employees and work to manage expectations.”
A somewhat controversial element in many companies’ return-to-work scenarios is whether or not to require employees to be vaccinated when they return to the office.
Among the 194 employers surveyed, just 1 percent of organization indicated that they would require employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Slightly more than 80 percent indicated they will encourage employees to receive the vaccine, up from 60 percent from a similar survey conducted in January.
Of the employers who plan to take formal steps to encourage employees to receive the vaccine, most (61.5 percent) cited plans to use existing communication tools to provide education around the vaccine. Slightly more than 60 percent suggested that they will leverage communication from organizational leadership to encourage vaccination.
Thirty-eight percent of participants will provide paid time off to get a vaccine. A plurality of organizations (42.3 percent) are not auditing or surveying their workforce to determine the percentage of staff who have received a vaccine.
Other survey highlights include:
- Nearly 20 percent of those surveyed will start with a staggered approach, where employees are initially required to return to the workplace for a minimum number of days per week and gradually increase to a full return to work.
- Slightly more than a third of employers (34 percent) are planning for a more permanent hybrid remote work model, where employees only return to the workplace a few days a week. Most companies will plan for at least two or three remote days per week as part of their remote model.
- The data suggests that employers have identified June or September as their likely date to fully re-open for in-person work. There remains, however, nearly a third of employers (30.8 percent) who have yet to define when they will re-open their workplace to in-person work.
ASE offers employer resources on handling the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work here.
A full copy of the survey results can be requested here.