Real estate brokers, associations and business executives are divided over whether they should require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to work, according to a survey by the business and technology consultancy West Monroe.
The survey, conducted in January, revealed that 51% of C-level commercial executives have said they’ll require workers to be vaccinated before they can return to work physically, while the remainder said they won’t.
Legal experts say that employers have the right to demand that their employees are immunized with the vaccine before returning to work, but there are, as always, some exceptions. According to guidance released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in December, employers are allowed to require that employees be vaccinated as a condition of going work, but said that some workers may be exempt due to disabilities and religious objections. Employers will need to check with state authorities for more details.
The National Association of Realtors recently published a helpful resource called COVID-19: Guidance for Workplace Vaccine Policies to assist real estate brokerages and associations as they try to frame their vaccination policies, which must be based on the EEOC’s guidance.
West Monroe’s survey found that many executives expressed optimism that workers will be able to physically return to the workplace once the pandemic is under control and a large proportion of workers have been vaccinated. Some 47% of respondents said they expect their teams to be either fully or mostly on site once it is safe to return to work. Just 1% of executives said they’re planning to shift to remote work on a full time basis once the pandemic subsides.
The main problem associated with remote work is that it hinders productivity, around a third of the executives said. Another 45% said social distancing restrictions also hinder productivity.
“We’ve seen how remote work can function perfectly well and benefit each of us, but we drive results for clients by working together, and in the past year, we’ve become painfully aware that together sometimes means in-person,” said Kevin McCarty, CEO of West Monroe, in an interview with Inc.com. “The key will be balance and finding the right venue for the right activity.”
The pandemic has also spurred a large number of executives to consider moving their business operations to a new location. The survey found that 25% of them are looking to move due to considerations such as the cost of living and taxes. The most popular destinations for businesses that are considering relocating are Texas, Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and Colorado, the survey found.