The COVID-19 pandemic thrust many employees into long-term remote work and despite increasing optimism about a “return to normal,” many people in the workforce prefer to stay working from home.
This was a key finding in WorldatWork’s “COVID-19 Employer Plans and Employee Perceptions” survey in partnership with SalesGlobe. Of the 1,418 full-time professionals in the United States who participated in the survey, 60% said they are currently working remotely and 76% indicated they would like to continue in that capacity after the pandemic.
However, employers anticipate that 34% of employees will continue working remotely after the pandemic, which sets up potential tension between organizations and their workforces. Additionally, 32% of employees state they would not return to work and look for a new job if they cannot work remotely.
The survey, which was a follow-up to April 2020’s “COVID-19 Employer Response Survey,” also revealed that 60% of the 380 organizations surveyed will not require employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination prior to returning to work. Most employees, however, are choosing to get the vaccine, as 72% said they have received it or plan to get it when it becomes available to them.
Despite the dramatic affect the pandemic had on work itself, many organizations and HR professionals successfully adjusted their business and people operations in 2020 to help sustain financial viability. Only a handful of organizations (9%) reported that their financial performance has decreased by 30% or more under plan over the past 12 months. Among those that have experienced financial losses, 66% believe their organization will be able to recover in two years or less.
The concept of “hazard pay” was of supreme interest in the early stages of the pandemic and organizations are still utilizing this compensation method, as 31% percent reported they are providing hazard pay for essential workers who are required to be on-site during the pandemic and organizations that are providing hazard pay have increased by eight percentage points since last year’s survey.
Another compensation variable that increased was that of work-from-home reimbursements shelled out by employers. The survey found that 38% of organizations reimburse expenses related to remote work, which was up 13% from the “Back to Work Playbook,” study conducted by WorldatWork in June. Additionally, 92% of employees said they feel their organization provides sufficient reimbursement for work-from-home expenses.
Lastly, despite renewed optimism surrounding the improving conditions, organizations are still managing travel expenses conservatively and adjusting the way they do business to incorporate less travel, with 68% of organizations expecting the same level of business travel or less in 2021, as compared to 2020.
About the Author
Brett Christie is the managing editor of Workspan Daily.