Three out of four tech workers plan to return to the office in some form this year. But many are worried about the health implications of doing so.
More than 70% of tech workers told Qualtrics in late February they were nervous about precautions like mask mandates ending, compared to 59% of workers across industries. Seventy-seven percent of tech workers still support vaccine mandates — significantly more than government workers (52%) or even healthcare workers (53%).
The pandemic has waned from its omicron peak, but cases are on the rise again. The seven-day average is currently a little under 51,000 cases across the U.S. The Northeast and West Coast as well as Colorado are currently relative COVID-19 hotspots, and all are locations with a high number of tech workers.
Although most workers are ready to meet in person, many still aren’t ready to do so in a crowded room. Across sectors, workers are largely comfortable with in-person meetings (78%) but less so with shaking hands (62%), large gatherings (54%) and hugs (52%). Sitting next to someone is OK for three out of four workers, but 61% said workstations need to be disinfected and 55% want to keep supplies separate.
So, how do you get workers to return to the office? Companies have been trying to lure workers back to the office with a few perks. Google, for example, offered workers free scooters to come back. The company also took away workers' beloved bidets, though. (This move is completely unrelated to the pandemic but still.) What workers really want, though, are cash and public health safety measures.
According to Qualtrics, Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers across industries said they want their colleagues to be vaccinated, while Gen Z wants a raise to compensate for in-office work. Given how expensive it is to go to the office now, that might be worth considering.