Now that the CDC has expanded eligibility of the COVID-19 vaccines to everyone in the U.S. aged 16 years and older, your employees are probably feeling less stressed about coming back to the office, right? Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
When FlexJobs surveyed 2,118 people and asked, “What are your main concerns if you’re required to return to the office full or part time?” 49% said COVID-19 exposure/infection.
Other concerns that ranked high on FlexJobs’ survey were: less work flexibility (46%), less worklife balance (43%), office politics and distractions (34%), and lack of health and safety measures (32%).
The fear is real
The fear of contracting COVID-19 hasn’t subsided. In fact, it’s making the majority of people in the survey reconsider where they work: 58% said they would definitely look for a new job if they weren’t allowed to continue working remotely.
It looks like the respondents value the worklife balance remote work gives them, and the safety it provides.
Another 31% weren’t sure what they’d do if called back to the office, and only 11% said it wasn’t a big deal to them.
So, how many people want to come back to the office full time?
Only 2% according to the survey. The rest of the breakdown is 65% would prefer to work remotely full-time post-pandemic and 33% would like a hybrid work arrangement.
“I’m not surprised to see that more than half of people working remotely during the pandemic, … appreciate its benefits to such a strong degree that they would leave their current jobs,” Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, said in a statement. “The landscape of remote work has permanently changed as a result of COVID-19 and its impact will be felt in the job market and the workplace well into the foreseeable future.”
Steps you can take
So what can you do to retain talent if they’re required to be in the office?
- Rethink in-office work. Do employees really need to be in the office 100% of the time? If not, consider a flex schedule. Some people want to be in the office. So let them, as long as they’re being safe. The ones who don’t want to be in the office, allow them to continue at home. It should balance itself out and help with social distancing in the office.
- Listen to employees. Find out why they don’t want to return. Are they concerned about commuting costs, children in school (or not for the summer). Maybe offer a small stipend to help with public transit, gas or summer camp costs. Or are they truly scared about contracting COVID-19?
- Offer employees perks that show the company trusts and cares about them. Unlimited vacation time is becoming a popular perk to get people back in the office because it offers a better work-life balance. If employees are working hard and getting their work done on time, why does it matter how much time off they take?
Paid volunteer days is another great perk. Supporting causes they’re passionate about without losing vacation days or pay make for happy employees.
And after spending so much time at home with their pets, employees are worried about leaving them alone again. Since pets are known to boost people’s moods and lower stress, consider having a pet-friendly workplace. Everyday might be hard, but consider allowing your employees to bring their pets to work two days a week.