New Survey Finds Some Employers Will Fire Employees Who Refuse to Return to Work

New 2021 Survey Finds Some Employers Will Fire Employees Who Refuse to Return to Work

Pollfish, an online survey platform, and Digital.com, find the results of their recent survey unprecedented. Nationwide, 39 percent of employers would fire employees who refused to return to their on-site jobs.  Another 40 percent said they would require COVID vaccinations of their employees before they could return. 

Alternatively, another study from WeWork, found that nearly 75 percent of employees surveyed in April of this year, revealed that workplace flexibility was more important to them than company benefits.  At least 1 in 4 employees stated that they would be willing to forego bonuses and healthcare insurance for the ability to work remotely.

Currently, Cree and IBM offer remote work for employees who want to work from home.  Yet, Bank of America has a deadline of September for workers to be back to their in-person positions by September.

It’s also important to note that in the survey 32 percent of the 1500 businesses surveyed stated that they already had a remote workforce in place.  For purposes of analysis, they were left out of the data as were employers who only allowed in-person staff.  This data shows that COVID lockdowns did not create the remote workforce, but perhaps accelerated its acceptance among more employers.

Businesses resisting a hybrid model of remote work or full-time work-from-home environments might find themselves behind the times in the eyes of future job candidates. It could even affect those companies negatively. It will be difficult to find employees, especially when more and more applicants value a company’s policy on working remotely over other company benefits.

However, some employers state that there are some downsides to remote work.  Looking at the survey results, half of the respondents stated that a majority of job roles required an employee to be physically present whether it’s the office, plant or factory. It simply is not feasible to have employees working from home when special equipment is required for them to be able to do their jobs.

In addition, another 45 percent of businesses stated that productivity was down because of work-from-home statues.  Another 32 percent said employee miscommunications were higher in a remote work environment.

Still, a bias against remote work still exists among some companies. The survey results indicated businesses that mandated a return to full-time onsite work were more likely to view working from home negatively.  Fifty-nine percent of survey takers working for companies that have mandates claim that employees working from home were less productive.  While, 39 percent of survey takers who work for companies with a hybrid-work policy in place, believe that productivity suffered under their company’s policy.

It was interesting to note that 54 percent of all survey respondents would be more likely to hire a new employee who wanted to work in the office rather than one who wanted to work from home.  However, when survey responses were analyzed according to different businesses types, 67 percent of technology companies shared that they would hire the applicant that wanted to work in-office over the applicant who wanted remote work.

In view of all this data, what will the future of work look like?

The WeWork study indicates that employees prefer a hybrid model of work. In this model, employees work from any given location throughout the week. Employees might have a schedule that allows them to work 1/3 of their time from home, a third of their time in the office and another third from a library or co-working space.

Another influence to work environments showed that age, salary and education played a role in an employee’s preferred schedule.  Forty-six percent of employees 55 years and older preferred the hybrid work model as compared to 71 percent of workers 25 years and younger.

The study also found that salary played a role in the decision for the hybrid model. Seventy-five percent of workers with salaries above $150,000 were more likely to see those environments compared to 58 percent of employees making $60,000 or less. 

High-school graduates were also less likely to prefer the hybrid model of work as compared to 75 percent of those workers with advanced degrees.

While the future of work is still unclear, the Covid -19 pandemic was not the only factor in the striking shift towards different work environments.  Since many of the respondents of the WeWork study report having a work-from-home arrangement for some time with higher levels of productivity, the demand for hybrid models of work will only increase.


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