One in four managers will only work with colleagues who have received both Covid-19 vaccinations, according to research released today.
As England waits to hear whether “freedom day” will go ahead as intended on 21 June – with a four-week delay widely speculated – the findings of a poll conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) make for sober reading.
A divided post-pandemic workplace, troubled by fear and mistrust, could be in the offing as a poll revealed that 24% of managers say they would only work with those who had been double jabbed. Among those aged 55 and over, the figure rose to 33%; while it fell to 19% for the under-45s.
It’s imperative that managers talk to their teams, build trust and respect their medical decisions and their views on the return to the workplace” – Anne Francke, CMI
One in five (22%) of the managers indicated that they would share a workplace with those who had not been vaccinated or taken a lateral flow test. Of the remaining respondents, 8% of managers were prepared to work with those who had received one vaccination and 6% said they did not know.
Meanwhile, 40% of managers said they would be prepared to work with those who had not been vaccinated but had had a negative lateral flow test.
Managers fear an exodus of staff if some form of flexible working is not retained, with 48% afraid that team members could quit if they cannot continue working remotely once restrictions ease.
Ann Francke, chief executive of CMI, said the research shows the complexities managers need to navigate as people return to workplaces. “The results also reveal a lack of trust in both employers and the government regarding workplace safety and the real possibility of an employee exodus if the wishes of workers are not respected,” she said. “It’s imperative that managers talk to their teams, build trust and respect their medical decisions and their views on the return to the workplace. Employers must develop flexible, inclusive and tolerant ways of working as we return to the workplace.”
The CMI has developed a Better Manager’s Roadmap, designed to help employers. “Failure to adapt to these new challenges, risks creating health cliques in the workplace and an unprecedented employee brain drain – neither of which are acceptable,” added Francke.
The findings, based on a poll of 1,239 UK managers at the beginning of June, draw parallels with a survey in the US for Bloomberg which found that 39% of adults would consider quitting if their employers were not flexible about remote work. According to CMI research, the under-45s were more likely (44%) than those aged 55 and over (30%) to say they would look for a new role if their employer did not allow staff to work remotely.
The desire to continue remote working is mirrored in the attitudes of managers themselves, with 40% saying they would likely look for a new job if they could no longer work from home once restrictions ease. More than half (56%) of managers want to work just one or two days a week in the workplace.