- More than half of employed U.S. adults surveyed last month by Gallup are vaccinated against COVID-19 and 48% have received a booster, but concern about contracting COVID-19 in the workplace persists, Gallup said in an analysis published Tuesday.
- One in 4 adults said they were either “very” or “moderately” concerned about workplace exposure, compared to 41% who said they were not concerned. The findings continue a downward trend; per Gallup, 33% of workers said they were concerned in July 2022, while the highest share recorded by the polling firm, 51%, was recorded in July 2020.
- Nearly two-thirds of respondents said they expected a winter surge of COVID-19 infections, which Gallup said may explain some concerns expressed about workplace exposure. Such concerns were more prevalent among women, education workers, healthcare workers and Democrats compared to other groups in the survey, Gallup added.
Previously, during lulls of COVID-19 spread nationwide, experts advised employers to prepare for future waves of spread in part by developing transparent mitigation measures and guidelines.
Concerns about new coronavirus variants aside, long COVID-19 could pose its own share of challenges to employers, especially those that are planning to reopen physical facilities. Long COVID-19 may be particularly concerning because there is a chance that the condition has been underreported within workforces.
Flexible work options could help to alleviate workers’ concerns about COVID-19, but more and more employers are beginning to reinstate in-person requirements going into 2023. Rollbacks of remote or hybrid work could be a risky move for employers, however, particularly in the case of immunocompromised employees for whom in-person work may not be an essential job function.
Slightly more hybrid workers in Gallup’s survey said they were concerned about workplace spread compared to on-site employees and exclusively remote employees, but the share of each group that expressed such concerns fell between July and October 2022, Gallup found.
The survey comes amid increased national political debate about the pandemic. The U.S. Senate recently passed Joint Resolution 63, which calls for the termination of the national emergency declared with respect to COVID-19 by the Biden administration. In a Nov. 15 statement, the White House confirmed that it would veto the resolution if it is passed by Congress.