More than half (54 per cent) of attendees to Benefits Canada‘s virtual return-to-work webinar on Aug. 12 said they’re planning a phased return to the workplace beginning in the third or fourth quarter of 2021.
Among the respondents, which included nearly 200 plan sponsors and other industry professionals, a further 18 per cent said they’ve already returned to the workplace, 16 per cent have no plans to return to a physical workplace and 12 per cent are planning a phased return beginning in the first quarter of 2022.
When it comes to the type of work environment employers are planning in a post-pandemic future, the vast majority (84 per cent) are implementing a hybrid work model that includes both remote and physical workplace options. However, 13 per cent said they’ll require everyone back in the physical workplace and just three per cent said they aren’t returning to a workplace at all.
Vaccinations and their legal implications in the workplace were also a hot topic during the webinar. When asked whether they’ll make vaccinations mandatory for all employees, the vast majority (93 per cent) of survey respondents said they won’t, though 69 per cent of that group also said they’ll strongly recommend that employees are vaccinated. On the other hand, seven per cent said they’ll require employees to be vaccinated.
In addition, half (50 per cent) of the webinar’s attendees who answered the survey said at least one of their organizations’ employees has tested positive for the coronavirus, while 25 per cent said none have tested positive and another 25 per cent said they don’t know.
The majority are concerned about the impact on attraction and retention if they mandate that employees return to work at their physical workplace, with 80 per cent of respondents agreeing with this statement.