: Companies and employees appear to have starkly different ideas about work post-COVID


Amid a pandemic that has induced collective trauma, there’s a mismatch between what employers think their workers want from a “return to work” and what they actually plan to offer, a new report says.

Some 55% of those employers say they plan to offer a hybrid work model, and 28% say they plan to have most workers come back in person and full time, according to a survey of 1,160 human-resources professionals, in-house lawyers and C-suite executives conducted by the law firm Littler.

There is a gap between what employees want and what employers are prepared to do once more people are vaccinated.

“Is remote work here to stay?” the report authors wrote. “Our survey indicates that employees overwhelmingly hope it persists in some form, while employers are a bit less sure.”

Some16% of employers think most workers who can work remotely full time would like the option to continue doing so. And yet just 7% of employers plan to allow them to do so. What’s more, representatives in those companies believe that just 4% want to come back to the physical office full-time.

The gap between perceived hybrid work demand and plans to offer that model is smaller for companies with more than 10,000 employees, whose leaders are both more likely to say their workers want a hybrid model (77%) and more likely to say they’ll offer it (68%).

Vaccinating employees

With the pace of adult COVID-19 vaccinations in the U.S. slowing and younger teens now lining up to receive Pfizer


shots, a large majority of employers (84%) say they plan to provide vaccination information to employees, and 48% are providing paid time off for getting the vaccine or recovering from side effects.

About 35% of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 46% of people have received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes 45% of adults who are fully vaccinated and nearly 59% of adults with at least one dose.

Asked whether their organization would ask employees to voluntarily disclose their vaccination status to gain a better picture of workforce vaccination rates, employers gave a mixed bag of responses: 41% said yes, 32% said no and 27% said they were unsure.

Hybrid work was also the top choice of 63% of human-resources leaders and “return-to-workplace decision makers” surveyed in March and April by the independent media organization Reset Work. But just 1 in 3 decision makers said their company was equipped with the necessary resources to navigate a successful return to the office.

So how do employees who have had remote-work privileges over the past 14 months actually feel about heading back? Some 69% of current remote workers say they’d feel comfortable returning to an office environment — a record high — and less than three in 10 report feeling uncomfortable with that prospect, according to Morning Consult’s latest polling.

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