New research from Eagle Hill Consulting shows that the spike in Covid-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant is impacting employee sentiment about returning to the office.
According to the 2022 Eagle Hill Consulting COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workplace Survey, 52% of working Americans reported increased anxiety about returning to the workplace due to rising Covid-19 cases.
Even more, 56% stated they supported vaccine booster requirements, while 78% felt employers should encourage or require workers to be fully vaccinated before returning to in-person.
Recently, the U.S. Surgeon General warned that the wave of Omicron had yet to reach its peak in the U.S. as hospitalizations and deaths across the country continue to grow.
As a result, companies’ return-to-office plans have been derailed. Now, the idea of permanent remote or hybrid work strategies is becoming more of a reality.
“Beleaguered employers and workers were hopeful that 2022 would mark a return to some sense of normalcy, and this setback is discouraging,” said Melissa Jezior, president and CEO at Eagle Hill Consulting. “The key takeaway from omicron is that the virus is still in control, and employers must be in a perpetual pivot mode should another variant emerge.”
Overall, respondents agree that employers will need to do more in the future to create a safe and healthy workplace. For 84%, that means encouraging or requiring physical distancing, while 82% support encouraging or requiring employees to wear face masks.