Posted on 20th June 2021

covid vaccines

A picture of a divided post-pandemic workplace, troubled by fear and mistrust has emerged in a poll of UK managers. The findings of the poll conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) make for a sober read. Almost a quarter of managers (24%) say they would only work with those who had been double jabbed, with Baby Boomers (33%) more likely than Generation Z and Millennials (19%) to say they would only share a working space with colleagues who have received both doses of the vaccine. Just over one in five (22%) of the managers who took part in the poll 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 at a minimum received one vaccination and 6% of managers 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 are also concerned about a staff exodus if employees are unable to retain some form of flexible working, with nearly half (48%) fearing that team members could quit if they were not allowed to continue working remotely once restrictions ease.

These findings correlate with the findings of a survey carried out last month in the US by Morning Consult on behalf of Bloomberg News which found that 39% of adults would consider quitting if their employers weren't flexible about remote work. According to CMI's latest research, Gen Z and Millennials (44%) were more likely than Baby Boomers (30%) to say they would look for a new role if their employer did not allow staff to work remotely or from home.

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 1-2 days a week in the workplace and almost three quarters (74%) were not yet concerned that their organisation may consider reducing their salary if they continued to work from home after restrictions were lifted.

The survey also found there is little trust in either employers or Government regarding return to workplace safety. An overwhelming majority of managers (71%) said they trusted scientific advisors rather than employers (14%) or Government (9%) regarding the matter.

Ann Francke, Chief Executive of CMI, said: "At CMI, we've partnered with a number of organisations to ensure that we're equipping managers with the skills, tools and knowledge to ensure that the move to hybrid and flexible working is successful. However, this new research shows some of the other complexities that managers face and need to navigate on the return to their 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.

"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. We've created a Better Manager's Roadmap, which is designed to help employers with this. 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".

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