Survey: 4 in 10 employers would fire workers for not returning to the office

SMALL BUSINESSES are split on whether they would fire employees that refuse to return to the office, according to a recent national survey conducted by Digital.com. /COURTESY DIGITAL.COM

PROVIDENCE – Four in 10 United States employers said they had or will fire workers that will not return to the workplace full time, according to a survey conducted by Digital.com.

The results come from a survey of 1,500 U.S.-based small-business owners conducted in April.

Another 39% of employers in the survey said they would not consider firing employees that refuse to return the workplace, while 22% were unsure.

Nearly half of respondents in the survey said that most job functions require in-person attendance to the workplace and 45% expressed concern that employee productivity had declined while working remotely, the report said. However, another 34% of respondents found that productivity increased due to remote work, and 41% said that the elimination of a commute meant that workers were on time more often.

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Nearly 70% of the employers surveyed said that they have already asked, or will ask, workers for input on their company’s post-pandemic work structure as it relates to schedules and in-person, hybrid or remote working.

“One critical takeaway from this survey is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to post-pandemic workplace strategies,” said Digital’s small-business expert Dennis Consorte in the report. “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.”

As for what the office will look like upon returning from remote working, the survey found that 42% of employers will require employees to be vaccinated, while over half of employers said they will implement mask mandates, social distancing and hand-washing policies.

The full results of the survey may be found online.

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