New research, old results: with the rise in delta variant cases many U.S. workers are concerned for their safety in the workplace.

2 minute read

The federal government just granted approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. But for many Americans, the fear of contracting the virus at work is still alive and causing tension in the workplace.

Pollsters from consulting firm Eagle Hill concluded American workers are split on vaccine mandates in a recently conducted national survey. In its “COVID-19 vaccines and the workplace” survey of more than 1,000 Americans, 44 percent said the delta variant “impacts their willingness to return to the workplace.”

Melissa Jezior, CEO of Eagle Hill Consulting refers to the vaccine approval as a “game-changer” that can “help employers mandate worker vaccinations.”

It may be a “game-changer” for businesses. But employees are split on how the rules to the game should work: Half feel companies should mandate shots to return to work, while the other half doesn’t.

The most telling finding is 1 in 4 of are in favor of charging unvaccinated coworkers higher insurance rates than those who are vaccinated. This sentiment on the workplace after the COVID-19 national emergency of 2020 is nothing new.

Since May, poll after poll has shown Americans feel uneasy about returning to their workplace…

Fear catching COVID-19 at work

Three months ago, the American Staffing Association (ASA) polled more than 2,000 U.S. workers on how they felt about returning to their brick-and-mortar workplaces.

Around 57% said they “worry they might catch COVID-19 from coworkers or fellow commuters on public transportation.”

Find out: Surveys Show Americans are Looking for Pandemic-Proof Employment 

Working from home is now a “special privilege”

Roughly 35% told ASA they’ve taken a liking to working from home and don’t want to return to the office. Nearly 2 in 3 replied to Eagle Hill they believed unvaccinated employees shouldn’t get “special allowances” to work from home.

Find out: 5 Ways the Workplace is Changing

Vaccination procrastination creates divide in the workplace

Nearly half of respondents to ASA’s poll said unvaccinated coworkers shouldn’t be able to work in-person with customers. And 4 in 10 said they shouldn’t be able to work with other employees.

Back in May, about 34% told ASA they aren’t yet vaccinated for COVID-19, so they don’t feel comfortable returning to the office.

Find out: 6 Tips to Help Cure Your Workplace Burnout

Some miss office life

One of the more interesting findings from ASA’s research back in May shows how many workers yearn for the office.

Twenty-three percent said they “don’t see any barriers preventing them from going back to work in an office or other workplace setting.”

Find out: 7 Awesome Employee Benefits to Keep an Eye Out For

Some may quit

Back in April, London-based start up Beamery conducted a global poll called The Beamery Talent Index. The majority of respondents said COVID-19 caused them to “consider leaving their jobs.”

Fifty-seven percent said they felt “displeasure with how their employer handled issues surrounding the pandemic.”

Fast-forward to Eagle Hill’s latest research: Many employees have hit a breaking point with their unvaccinated peers.

The consulting firm’s CEO believes organization leadership needs to take warning and adjust with the times.

“The key for employers is to remain flexible and listen to employee views so they are best positioned to navigate through even more COVID-19 uncertainty,” Jezior said. “Unlike the early days of the pandemic, workers aren’t afraid to quit their jobs.”

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About the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Joe Pye started writing about debt and personal finance five years ago while attending Florida Atlantic University, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the student-run newspaper, the University Press. Before graduating with a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism, Pye placed as a finalist for the Mark of Excellence award by the Society of Professional Journalists Region 3 for feature writing and in-depth reporting. In 2021, Pye earned First Place in the Green Eyeshade awards for "Best Blog" for his side-project Since taking a full-time position as associate editor at in 2018, Pye has become a certified debt management professional who's applied what he's learned to his personal life by paying down more than $22,000 worth of combined credit card, student loan, auto and tax debt in less than two years.

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