While there has been much debate about how remote work will continue once vaccines come out, it seems that things might not change that much.
A Gartner, Inc. survey 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.
Sixty-five percent of respondents reported that their organization will continue to offer employees flexibility on when they work.
Respondents to the survey predicted that 50% of the workforce will want to return to the workplace, at least part-time once a vaccine is made widely available.
Even with a vaccine, 62% of respondents say they are planning to continue all safety measures they have put in place.
However, as has been the case with many of the procedures, different companies choose different routes and nearly one-third of respondents noted they would no longer require masks in the workplace nor enforce social distancing in high-traffic areas, once the vaccine has been widely adopted.
“Right now, organizations are considering different policies for employees who receive the vaccine and those who do not,” said Elisabeth Joyce, vice president of advisory in the Gartner HR practice. “What is most critical is that leaders are making these decisions with the expectation that they may need to course-correct as we learn more.”
Several geographic regions are currently experiencing a COVID-19 resurgence, requiring employers to take action to maintain the health and safety of their workforce. Among leaders surveyed, 46% said their organization has already, or will, shut down offices that had previously been reopened; 37% reported extending new benefits to employees, such as childcare assistance and additional sick leave.
When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, 60% of those surveyed said they will encourage employees to get vaccinated, but it will not be required. Sixty percent of respondents reported 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 organization’s vaccination strategy, including local government regulations,” said. Joyce. “Therefore, it is critical that leaders work closely with their legal and compliance partners.”
Note: Gartner offers a Managing Remote and Onsite Workers resource hub, a collection of research and webinars to help organizations rethink how and where work gets done.