Workers set to shun vaccine refusers

As firms look to enable a return to the workplace as restrictions ease a new survey has found over a third of UK workers said they would not work in the same office or work environment as someone who has refused the Covid-19 vaccination.

The survey carried out by HR software provider CIPHR, revealed 35% of all UK workers said they would not work in the same office or work environment as someone who has refused the Covid-19 vaccination.

It is Gen Z, alongside Millennials, who are the most vaccine-conscious co-workers with 38% saying that they would not work in the same office or work environment with a colleague who has refused to be vaccinated.

“HR procedures will need to be put into place ahead of staff returning to the office, as 64% of UK workers think employers should be able to require that employees receive the Covid-19 vaccine in order for them to return to the office or workplace,” added the survey.

Again, it’s Gen Z who are the most vocal in this area, with 78% of the age group saying they think employers should be able to require that staff receive a vaccination before they are allowed to return to the workplace.

In addition, men are 17% more likely than women to think that employers should be able to require their staff to be vaccinated before returning to the workplace (69% of men verses 59% of women).

Commenting on the study, Claire Williams, director of people and services at CIPHR, says: “As the Covid-19 vaccination is rolled out across the country, HR teams are met with many new challenges, especially ensuring everyone feels safe and welcome as we head back into the workplace.

“It doesn’t come as a surprise that many British workers think employers should require all staff to receive the vaccine, when as a nation we’ve spent the past year responsibly adhering to the government rules to keep ourselves and loved ones safe. However, it is concerning that so many workers have indicated that they would not want to return to the workplace if one of their co-workers refused to be vaccinated. Ongoing investment in workplace health and safety is going to have to remain a high priority as we navigate the return to work.

“Employers and HR teams should be proud of their achievements over this difficult pandemic and post-pandemic period. It is clear to see from this survey that UK workers have responded well to, and are feeling the benefit of, new policies and systems put in place to make working through a pandemic easier, but HR teams still face a difficult road ahead. The return to the office and workers’ concerns for their own safety brings a whole new set of challenges, and it will be interesting to see how HR departments tackle this.”

Despite the challenges that a return to the workplace will pose appreciation of HR teams has improved, with a third (33%) of UK workers saying that their HR team has offered more help and guidance than they did prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In all 35% of UK workers said their workplace has offered online training and development for workers to assist with the pandemic. When asked 36% of UK workers say the quality of their organisation’s HR offering has improved since the pandemic began verses 8% who feel their organisation’s HR provision has deteriorated during this time.

It is Gen Z, alongside Millennials, who are the most vaccine-conscious co-workers with 38% saying that they would not work in the same office or work environment with a colleague who has refused to be vaccinated.

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