The Return to Work Post-COVID


100% Of Surveyed Companies Will Mandate Masks

As vaccines become available for more phases of people across the country, companies are developing, implementing, and clarifying plans to bring their employees back in-person. One thing that all companies agreed upon is mask-wearing, according to a survey conducted online in March by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. 

In the survey of 201 Human Resources executives at companies of various sizes and industries nationwide, 100% of respondents said they would require or do require mask-wearing for their in-person staff. That is up from 92.9% of respondents who said they would require masks in June 2020. Of those, 42.4% will require masks all the time, while the remaining 57.6% will require them in shared spaces.

COVID-19 Survey Results





Related: Challenger HR Executive Survey Results JUNE 2020 UPDATE

The unanimous mask-wearing requirement was the only precaution more companies adopted in March, as compared to a similar survey conducted by Challenger among 150 companies in June of last year. 

“Mask-wearing has been shown to be effective in containing the spread of airborne viruses. It makes sense that companies would embrace it in order to bring their workers back in-person safely,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

What precautions are you considering or have already implemented as you bring workers back in-person?

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

In the latest survey, 22% of companies are ensuring most of their workers are vaccinated before returning to the office. Of those respondents, 45% were Technology companies and 18% were Health Care firms. Of all respondents, Technology companies comprised 24% and Health Care comprised 19%.

14% Plan To Bring Everyone Back; 3% Already Have

When asked whether employers have brought their workers back in-person, of the 96% of companies that reported they moved some or all of their workers to remote, 33% reported they have brought back all or some of their workers to the office. Another 63% are in the planning stages, with 14% planning to bring all of their workers back in-person, something a few respondents lamented in their comments. Nearly 5% had not brought anyone back into the office and had no plans to do so. See Table Below

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

When asked if companies planned to keep their workers remote, the vast majority (79%) plan to institute a hybrid work arrangement where workers may come in some days and work remotely some days, or keep certain categories of their workers remote permanently. Of those, nearly 3% report they will listen to their workers, either giving them a choice to come back or basing their policies on what workers want. See Table Below

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(Related: Challenger COVID-19 April 2020 Survey)

Do you plan to keep remote workers remote?

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©

This jibes with Challenger’s June survey, which revealed that 43.3% of companies plan to keep most of their employees working at home even after the pandemic passes and 30% said they would transition some of their employees to work from home following the pandemic after implementing it successfully due to COVID.

3% Will Mandate The Vaccine

Few companies will mandate the vaccine, but the majority will strongly encourage their workers to receive it. Over 57% of employers reported they will encourage employees to receive the vaccine. Over 33% stated they will not mandate it, and 6% are determining their approach to the vaccine.

Photo by hakannural via Unsplash





(Related: Can employers mandate the vaccine?)


Will you mandate the vaccine?

Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. ©


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Challenger's Media Coverage

Ford offering work-from-home option to 30,000 employees

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Source: Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Microsoft, Twitter and the others are just the tip of the iceberg, according to Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. A recent survey by the firm of 201 corporate human resource executives found that 79% plan to institute a hybrid model once the pandemic is under control.

Companies have been using software to track employee productivity while they worked remotely during the pandemic, and the data is encouraging. As a result, hybrid and fully remote jobs will will be “the route a vast majority of companies will go to,” Challenger said.

“The coronavirus has fundamentally changed the way companies do business nowadays,” he added. “You’re going to see very few companies going back to the way it was.”

Pandemic silver lining? Employers start to recognize importance of caregiving benefits

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In a recent survey of more than 200 HR executives, Challenger, Gray & Christmas found that 84 percent said they are offering workers more flexibility, with many making changes specifically in response to workers’ caregiving obligations. Two out of five reported that they specifically have extended greater flexibility to parents, with 23 percent expanding paid time off and 13 percent offering child care options.

Of those, the vast majority — 95 percent — said they plan to make some or all of these changes permanent. “I think it was very eye-opening for employers,” Clayton said. “It forced them to look at their policies and procedures overall.”

This is a paradigm shift, experts say, that is long overdue.


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NPR: ‘Can You Hear Me?’ The Annoyances That Lead To Zoom Burnout

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Feeling burnt out from all these Zoom calls? You’re not alone. One psychiatrist at UCLA suggests shaking things up — and trying to find little moments of joy that make your day rewarding.

Posted by NPR on Friday, April 9, 2021

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