More Employers Contemplate Mandating Vaccinations and Masks as Delta Variant Cases and Fears Increase

As employers continue efforts to get back to a new normal, the highly contagious Delta variant and return to mask recommendation by the CDC are upending return to the office plans and leading many to contemplate mandates. According to a poll by ComPsych, the world’s largest provider of behavioral, mental health and wellbeing services, 33% of employers are either mandating or considering mandating vaccinations of their employees and 72% are mandating masks or considering reinstating use in the office.

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“We are still in a high stakes situation. Many people have the same fear and uncertainty they did at the beginning of the pandemic,” said Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, Founder, Chairman and CEO of ComPsych. “The most important things employers can do right now is to be open about the uncertainty, over communicate and provide holistic support to address the multitude of issues employees are facing – whether that’s counseling, child care, financial or legal.”

Many companies have been discussing the complex issues for the past several months amidst lower than hoped for vaccination rates and the increasing threat of the Delta variant. With 50% of employees worried about getting sick from the Delta variant, according to another recent poll released by ComPsych, the issues are both complicated and emotional. As more employers announce Covid vaccination requirements and experts including Dr. Fauci suggest the FDA full approval will encourage many more mandates, it is clear plans will continue to shift.

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Revisiting conversations around remote work

A number of companies across industries are maintaining remote and hybrid arrangements. 77% of employers polled said they’ve seen an up-tick in work-from-home requests compared to pre-pandemic. Even for employees who’ve been vaccinated, the threat of Delta variant breakthrough infections and spread to unvaccinated children is creating more fear. Yet another factor inhibiting plans are concerns parents have about care-giving availability and school openings.

How employers can support employees

  • Provide requirements and verified information from reliable sources.
  • Offer training, employee assistance and work life services to address the whole person.
  • Be flexible and enable resources to improve remote work.
  • Focus on team building activities.

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