Returning to the Workplace
The Omicron variant delayed workplace return plans for many companies, and although most companies have not nailed down an exact return date, this spring is a popular choice. Since November, there has been an increase in employers requiring some people to be in the workplace either part-time or as needed, which indicates that the Great Return is already in full swing.
Employer COVID-19 Policies
With more than 65% of the U.S. population fully vaccinated, most companies require employees to be fully vaccinated before returning to the workplace. Some people qualify for vaccination exemptions and most employers are willing to allow them to work remotely indefinitely. For employees who do not qualify for vaccination exemptions, most employers are undecided on what course of action they will take.
Managing a Distributed Workforce
With more employees seeking to move to different locations, employers continue to expand to new states. Florida, Texas, and Colorado are the top states that companies are applying to do business in since the pandemic began. And while this movement is happening, most companies are not planning to reduce the number of office leases they currently hold. Although the new world of work is more distributed, a physical workplace still appears to be important to most employers.
The physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of employees continues to be top-of-mind for people-driven employers. Companies surveyed are preparing to help their people return to the workplace safely by focusing on providing flexible work arrangements and more time off to keep employees happy and engaged.
While employers have increased employee wellbeing support services during the pandemic, most are unsure if these programs have helped improve employee retention. Work-life balance and burnout continues to be an area of concern for employers and they are responding by offering flexible time-off and more wellbeing services. However, adopting a four-day workweek is not part of most companies’ wellbeing strategy.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sequoia has conducted ongoing research to understand how employers have adjusted to the evolving conditions of the workplace. This report focuses on employers’ perspectives about returning to the workplace, how they are shaping their COVID-19 policies, and their approaches to managing a more distributed workforce.
Insights from this report were gathered from a survey of 459 business leaders, who represent mostly-technology companies based in California, conducted in early March, 2022. Sequoia is committed to continuing research to understand the new workplace and share our learnings to help people-driven businesses make informed decisions about their people programs and practices.
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