Survey finds many Triangle workers still unvaccinated as employers work on return-to-office plans

If your company hasn't called employees back to the office yet, it may be just a matter of time before that happens.

A local human resources consultant says managers across the country are in Zoom meetings right now trying to figure out exactly how the return to work is going to look.

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"Most companies are working on their return to work policies right now. They're trying to figure out what's best for their company and the employees that they have and their customers," said Buck Rogers, a vice president at human resources consulting firm Keystone Partners from the company's offices in Morrisville.

Keystone recently surveyed employees here in the Triangle and 39% said that management has not yet revealed their company's vaccination plan.

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And those plans can be a minefield, according to Rogers.

"From an employer standpoint, we need to be cautious about that but also respect people for their position on being vaccinated," he said.

In Keystone's survey, 40% of workers nationwide said they are still reluctant to be vaccinated.

"It's concerning to the employer because we do want to bring people back into the office," Rogers said. "And the one thing that gives confidence to most people is to know that people around them are vaccinated just like they are."

He added that employers should mount an education campaign about the vaccine and maybe even provide incentives for getting the shots.

He thinks mandating vaccinations should be a last resort.

"The best thing that we've seen and we recommend is to have committees, come back to work committee made up of the population of the company," Rogers said, noting that the most pressing issue for companies is to get that input, make an initial plan, and communicate that plan with employees.

"Set some dates, maybe some triggers, or milestones that that you say, 'Okay by Labor Day we're going to have a plan for coming back to work, and we'll tell you more then,'" Rogers advised.

Employees, he said, also need to understand that even if their company doesn't require vaccines, they may be forced to wear a mask if they don't get one, and may even be quarantined with other unvaccinated employees in a separate office or on a separate floor.
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