\Employers transitioning to a post-pandemic workplace face a disconnect between their plans to reopen offices and job sites, and many of their employees’ preferences to continue working remotely from home, according to a new survey by a national employment law firm.

The Littler Annual Employer Survey 2021, which draws on insights gathered from 1,160 in-house lawyers, C-suite executives and HR professionals, found that 71% of employers surveyed believed their employees preferred a hybrid work arrangement that mixes remote work with on-site work, but only 55% of employers are willing to offer that post-pandemic.

“On the pressing matter of how to reopen offices and worksites, there is tension between employers’ plans and employee preferences,” the report said.

The survey found 28% plan to have most employees return full-time and in-person, even though they believe only 4% of employees want to be back in the office full-time. Just 7% of employers said they will continue to allow full-time remote work, even though 16% believe that is what their employees prefer.

Most employers are encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations as part of their return-to-work plans, with 84% of those surveyed saying they are providing educational information on the subject to employees and 48% offering paid time off so that workers can receive and recover from the vaccine, the survey found.

The picture is mixed on whether employers will ask workers to voluntarily disclose whether they have been vaccinated.  The survey found that 41% of employers will ask workers if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine, 32% will not ask, and 27% are unsure.

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