Employer Actions & Employee Perceptions: Gauging the COVID-19 Workplace Experience

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Sixty percent of employees are currently working remotely, and 76% indicate 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 setting up possible future tension between organizations and their workforces. Also, thirty-two percent of employees state they would not return to work and look for a new job if they cannot work remotely. These findings are in the "WorldatWork COVID-19 Employer Plans and Employee Perceptions" survey, conducted in partnership with SalesGlobe. The comprehensive survey, a follow-up to April 2020's "COVID-19 Employer Response Survey" covers vaccine policies/incentives, hazard pay, financial impact/forecasting, business travel, remote work, investment in software solutions, work-from-home expense reimbursements, worker protections, employee recruitment, PTO policies, and vacation stances, among other topics. (Journalists: contact kstrauss@worldatwork.org for survey reports.)

Sample Findings:

  • 60% of organizations report they will not require employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to returning to work, an indication that organizations are opting to maintain a personal vs. professional line by not, as of now, requiring the vaccine. And most employees are choosing to obtain the vaccine; 72% of employees have received a vaccine or plan to get one when it becomes available to them.    

  • Organizations and HR professionals successfully adjusted their business and people operations in 2020 to help sustain financial viability. Only a handful of organizations (9%) report 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.

  • 31% percent of organizations 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. This positive trend shows that employers recognize the importance of providing fair compensation to essential workers for the additional risk they incur. 

  • 38% of organizations reimburse expenses related to working from home, a 13 percentage-point increase from June 2020's "WorldatWork Back to Work Playbook," and 92% of employees feel their organization provide sufficient reimbursement for work from home expenses.

  • 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.