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In a new survey from, more than one-third of small business owners said they have fired or would fire workers who don’t return to work on-site.

Of the 1,500 small business owners surveyed, 39%, of respondents said that all employees must return to on-site work full-time after the pandemic – this despite the fact that 30% said all employees have been working remotely since the pandemic and 18% sent some employees home to work remotely.

Thirty-nine percent said they would fire employees who refused to return to the office full-time, while an equal share said they would not do so.

When asked why on-site work is necessary, nearly half of respondents said most job functions could only be performed in-person, particularly those operating in information technology, business and finance and advertising. Slightly fewer, 45%, cited better interaction with clients, while 40% said employees were more productive on-site.

Digital’s small business expert Dennis Consorte said the resistance to at-home work will only negatively impact employers going forward.

“COVID-19 lockdowns didn’t create the move towards a remote workforce—it just accelerated the inevitable,” he said. “Companies that focus on physical location and hours worked will be behind the curve. They should focus instead on the value produced by their extended teams. Otherwise, their most valued employees may seek out remote opportunities elsewhere.”

To see the full report, click here.