The decision to bring employees back to workplaces is driven by local COVID-19 infection rates, schools and daycares, and employee health concerns, according to a new survey of regional businesses.
The survey, “Capital COVID-19 Snapshot: Safe Return to Worksites,” is the third such study conducted by the Greater Washington Partnership to assess how local businesses are responding to the pandemic.
“When we asked last year what the main drivers of organizations’ decisions about reopening were, the main answer was whether or not there would be a vaccine available. Obviously, of course, today we have several vaccine options available, ”said John Hillegass of the Greater Washington Partnership, a consortium of some of the region’s largest employers.
The latest survey found that more than half of local businesses expect their employees to continue telecommuting at roughly the same frequency over the next 12 months. He also revealed that, on average, respondents expect 68% of employees to be back on site by summer 2022.
When the Partnership last surveyed in December 2020, employers expected more workers – 75% – to be back on site on a typical workday by fall. 2021. But the Delta variant and an increase in infection rates over the summer have changed the reopening. plans.
“I think this shows that telecommuting and remote working are more and more entrenched in business standards,” Hillegass said.
And despite uncertain economic times, 45% of employers surveyed said they expected to increase their workforce over the next year, but at a slower pace than previous forecasts. Besides, four in ten say they have difficulty finding qualified employees.
As for vaccinations, the picture appears mixed. While employers monitor COVID–19 infection rates to guide their reopening plans, 46% of respondents said they did not expect employees to get COVID–19 vaccine, while 54% will need emrented to get vaccinated or submit to regular COVID testing.
Employers also estimated that 89% of their workforce was fully vaccinated – a figure that is almost 20 percentage points higher than the state–large averages in DC, Maryland and Virgonie for adults 18 to 64, according to the survey.
The survey was based on responses from 164 employers, representing over 1,200 construction sites and employing over 290,000 workers in the capital region. It was carried out in September of this year.
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