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Report: Comfort level with in-person work declines

New research from Paychex Inc. shows that nearly one-third of employees say their comfort level with in-person work has decreased because of the COVID-19 delta variant.

The research was conducted as the first in a series of surveys that Paychex is launching with human resources expert Jeanne Meister and Future Workplace, a human resources research and advisory firm, to explore key workplace issues affecting employees.

Some 31% of respondents said their comfort level with in-person work has declined as a result of the delta variant, while 46% reported that their level of comfort had not changed.

“Planning and implementing in-person work policies have been a moving target for HR professionals for months, and as employees’ comfort levels shift based on rising COVID-19 cases and new variants, employers will need to respond accordingly,” Alison Stevens, Paychex director of HR services, said in a statement.

Nearly one-quarter of respondents said they would leave their current company if it mandated a COVID-19 vaccination. The younger generation was most adamant, with 31% of Gen Z, 27% of millennials and 26% of Gen Xers saying they would leave their current company if it mandated vaccinations. Just 12% of baby boomers expressed the same opinion.

The survey asked respondents about the current and potential future safety measures their employers are instituting. Forty-one percent said they are mandated to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status, while 27% said they are being asked for proof of vaccination. Some 37% of employees said they do not need an incentive to be vaccinated because they already have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

For those who have not yet received the vaccine, 27% said the most attractive incentive for getting it would be a financial bonus.

“While employers may be eager to see employees back in the office, surging COVID-19 cases tied to the delta variant are igniting safety concerns for workers that employers cannot ignore,” Meister said. “Workers are looking for their employers to prioritize the implementation and communication of safety measures such as mask mandates, physical distancing and proof of COVID-19 vaccination before returning to in-person work.”

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