Survey Finds More Than A Third Of Employers Would Fire Employees Who Don’t Return To Working On-Site

Four out of 10 employers say they will fire workers who won’t return to the workplace full-time post-pandemic. The finding comes from a study by small business online tools, products and services review site Digital.com, which surveyed 1,500 small-business owners with a focus on remote work experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and plans for resuming in-person work.

Digital.com also reports that nearly 50 percent of survey respondents said most job functions require in-person attendance, and 45 percent expressed concerns about a decline in employee productivity while working remotely. Business owners also cited other disadvantages to working from home, such as low employee morale, increased lateness due to oversleeping and other distractions, and increased miscommunication among staff.

In contrast, only 10 percent of employers will make remote work mandatory and 17 percent said employees will follow a hybrid schedule of onsite and remote work. Survey results also show that most business owners are willing to consider feedback from employees about work schedules. Sixty-nine percent of employers state that they have asked or plan to ask workers for their input on a post-pandemic work structure.

“One critical takeaway from this survey is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to post-pandemic workplace strategies,” says Digital’s small-business expert Dennis Consorte. “Many business owners want mandatory in-person attendance. They need to get direct feedback from workers, mitigate fears about the virus and demonstrate empathy about other concerns before making such an impactful decision.”

According to the report, 42 percent of businesses will require staff to get vaccinated before returning to work onsite. Employers are also in favor of other safety protocols, such as mask mandates and social distancing. Fifty-five percent of small businesses will require workers to wear a mask, while 52 percent will prohibit or limit close interactions between employees.

Digital.com’s complete report is available here.

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