Remote Work to Continue Amidst Vaccine Distribution

Research shows that as vaccinations become more common, employers will continue to allow employees to work remotely.

According to new research, 90% of HR leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part time, even after COVID-19 vaccines are widely adopted and distributed.

While it may be just the first week of the new year, many are hopeful for the future as 2021 already presents positive developments following an unprecedentedly challenging 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic upended business operations and our personal lives, presenting months of hard questions and uncertain terrain. The formerly traditional ways of working have given way to new approaches and a focus on flexibility, with many companies and their employees turning to remote work.

Now, it is widely known that safe and effective vaccines for the coronavirus are available and are already being distributed to healthcare workers and the elderly in what is just the beginning of a long process in the new normal. Companies must now weigh their vaccination options, considering whether to require vaccinations for their employees, and what guidelines are in place for such action. Once vaccines are widely taken, employers may open the door for a return to the physical workspace.

However, according to a Gartner, Inc. survey of 130 HR leaders in December, 90% of HR leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely at least part of the time even with widespread vaccination. Additionally, 65% will continue to offer flexibility for their employees. Employee flexibility has been top of mind for employers and employees over the past year, with research showing that 60% of employees want to maintain new ways of working.

Additional Gartner surveys revealed that 60% of HR leaders will encourage, but not require, employees to get vaccinated, while also providing resources for employees on where and how to receive the vaccine. Further, 44% plan to cover or subsidize the cost of the vaccine. In the meantime, safety remains a top priority especially for offices that may have reopened, with 46% planning on closing previously reopened offices in COVID-affected areas.

These results show that even as the vaccine distribution rolls out and more people get vaccinated, remote work, flexibility, and workplace safety are top priorities in the new year. It may still be early in the overall COVID-19 vaccine distribution, but it is important for employers, HR leaders and those in the workforce mobility industry to stay abreast of issues pertaining to employee privacy, data security, and overall government regulations in their vaccination strategy.

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