While the jury is still out on whether or not companies will require vaccinations, a recent study by Gartner found that >nearly half (48%) of large global organizations will not track the vaccination status of their employees.> The study, conducted with 227 HR leaders on March 16, found that only 8% of survey respondents reported that they will require employees to show proof of vaccination.
The same Gartner Workplace Reopening Amid Vaccine Rollout Webinar Poll also showed that among 258 HR leaders, 45% expect their workplace to reopen in 3Q21, while nearly one-quarter (24%) are planning for their workplace to reopen in 4Q21.
“Given the uncertainty that will exist around vaccination status, most organizations that reopen will do so with social distancing and mask-wearing in place,” said Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice in a statement. “Regardless of reopening plans, only 1% of the HR leaders we surveyed expect all of their employees to work full-time in the office.”
Ultimately, the majority of organizations are planning for a hybrid workforce. Fifty-nine percent of 241 HR leaders said their organization will let employees work remotely occasionally with approval from their manager – a 21 percentage point increase since November 2020.
Other notable findings from the Gartner Workplace Reopening Amid Vaccine Rollout Webinar Poll on March 16, 2021, include:
- Out of 227 HR leaders, 36% plan to have employees self-report vaccination status, but will not require proof.
- Among 241 HR leaders, 49% will let employees work remotely on certain days; nearly one-third (32%) will let employees work remotely all of the time.
- Twenty percent of 197 responding HR leaders believe that normal business travel will resume in 6-9 months, while 35% admit they don’t know when they will resume employee business travel.
- Of 208 HR leaders surveyed, 95% have already resumed hiring.
“When offices reopen, many individuals will have been working from home for nearly two years or more and new ways of working will be engrained,” said Mr. Kropp. “It will be critical for employers to focus on building social and emotional connections with, and between, their employees again.”
While Gartner's research found that only one-quarter of organizations plan to maintain the well-being program they introduced during the pandemic for the foreseeable future, leading organizations will not roll-back new or expanded offerings. In fact, Gartner recommends that HR leaders use the return to the workplace as an opportunity to re-onboard all employees as though they are joining a new organization. To do this successfully, HR should focus on three main areas:
- Develop a philosophy on flexibility. Rather than simply creating a static flexible work policy, leading HR departments are determining their organization’s philosophy on flexibility and sharing this with their workforce.
- Communicate the purpose of the office. Prior to the pandemic, organizations simply described their office as the place where their employees work. Now, leaders must determine the role of their physical workplace – a team or company meeting place, a secure workspace, a social gathering space to support the community – and communicate that to employees.
- Train managers on supporting employees. With a more dispersed workforce, HR must work with managers on how to manage employees who are working in different locations and at different times.