A majority (81 per cent) of North American organizations are planning for their employees to return to work onsite once the coronavirus pandemic recedes, while 13 per cent are actively considering it and three per cent are not, according to a 2021 survey by Aon.

The survey, which polled more than 1,400 organizations in April, found 52 per cent said they’ve yet to choose a firm return date, while 29 per cent said they have. Many respondents said they expect employees will work onsite a few days a week, with 37 per cent saying they expect workers onsite two or three days a week, followed by four or five days (15 per cent) and one day a week (one per cent). Another 15 per cent said they’re leaving the decision up to each manager, while 14 per cent are leaving it up to the employee and 19 per cent said they’re unsure.

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North American employers are basing their decision on government-related statistics (66 per cent), employee preference (60 per cent), number of employees vaccinated (37 per cent), percentage of overall population vaccinated (35 per cent) and number of employees with antibodies (two per cent). Nine per cent said they’re unsure.

To motivate their staff to receive the coronavirus vaccine, a majority (88 per cent) of survey respondents said they’ll provide time off for employees to get vaccinated, while 81 per cent said they’ll provide time off for employees to recover from adverse effects of the vaccine, nine per cent will provide a monetary award and five per cent will provide a gift incentive.

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Half of these organizations said they’re creating or updating a remote working policy, while 21 per cent said they already have one in place. And 17 per cent are considering creating or updating their current policy. However, eight per cent said they don’t plan to create or update any policies and five per cent are continuing with existing remote working policies.

Among respondents who said they’re updating or considering updating their remote working policies, the survey found they’re looking at elements such as eligibility (76 per cent), request and approval processes (69 per cent), technology requirements (68 per cent), frequency and number of days (67 per cent), travel requirements (55 per cent), availability standards (43 per cent), eligible location (40 per cent), ongoing expenses covered or allowance (41 per cent), ad-hoc expenses covered (32 per cent) and impact on compensation and benefits (29 per cent).

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