A survey of mid- to large-sized employers in the US and UK has found that companies are prioritising vaccinations, with 88 percent planning to require or encourage their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 59 percent plan to incentivise their employees to be vaccinated, and 60 percent plan to require proof of vaccination from employees. Furthermore, 84 percent of employers are apparently willing to allow COVID-19 vaccinations to be administered to their employees at their facility if supplies were available.
The survey, which was conducted in March by the Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions, investigated the policies of businesses around vaccination, testing and contact tracing, employee well-being, pandemic response and preparedness, the pandemic's financial impact, and the future of work.
The enthusiasm for vaccinations may be related to the survey's other findings, which indicate that employers still want their employees to return to the physical office, but are facing challenges around safety. 68 percent of employers surveyed believe that employees should be in the office at least 20 hours a week to meet social, productivity, and collaboration needs. But the top three challenges they face are employees not wanting to return to in-person work, employees' safety, and the cost of making the workplace safe for employees. While the survey did not go into employers' preferred solutions, vaccination is realistically an effective way of addressing these challenges.
The survey also looked into what kind of workplace environment employers plan to offer post-pandemic. Despite the desire for employees to return to the physical workplace, 63 percent indicated that they will continue allowing employees to work from home through 2021, and 72 percent responded that they intend to expand their flexible or work from home policies once the crisis has passed. The majority also plan to offer either a virtual or hybrid work model.
Mara Aspinall, Project Co-Lead and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University's College of Health Solutions, and Advisor to the Rockefeller Foundation—which supported the survey—said the findings show that businesses are making their own decisions around creating a safe workplace: "More than one year into the Covid-19 crisis, it's clear that employers across the United States and UK are now taking a more proactive role and creating their own policies to manage the pandemic."