A recent Gartner survey of 130 HR leaders revealed that 90% of respondents plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time, even after the COVID-19 vaccine is widely adopted, with 65% reporting that their organisation will continue to offer employees flexibility on when they work.
As discussions around COVID-19 vaccines continue, most respondents predict that about 50% of the workforce will want to return to the workplace – at least part-time – once a vaccine is widely available.
“With a COVID-19 vaccine approaching, HR leaders are now faced with an onslaught of questions: if they can or should require employees to be vaccinated, what the employer’s responsibility is in helping employees and their families get vaccinated, and how the release of vaccines impacts their return-to-the-workplace strategy,” said Elisabeth Joyce, VP of Gartner’s HR Advisory Practice. “62% of respondents said they’re planning to continue all safety measures they’ve put in place once a COVID-19 vaccine is available. Nearly one-third noted they would no longer require masks in the workplace, nor enforce social-distancing in high-traffic areas.
“Right now, organisations are considering different policies for employees who receive the vaccine and those who don’t. What is most critical is that HR leaders are making these decisions with the expectation that they may need to course correct as we learn more.”
Several countries are experiencing a COVID-19 resurgence, requiring employers to take action to maintain the health and safety of their workforce. Among those surveyed, 46% said their organisation has already, or will, shut offices that had previously been reopened; and 37% reported extending new benefits to employees, such as childcare assistance and additional sick leave.
When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, 60% of respondents said they will encourage employees to get vaccinated, but it will not be required; 60% said they will provide resources to employees on where and how to get vaccinated; and 44% said they plan to cover or subsidize the costs of the vaccine for employees.
While there are concerns around the COVID-19 vaccine, including privacy and data security, ultimately, there are many factors involved in making decisions around an organisation’s vaccination strategy, including local government regulations.