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New CDC Guidance changes the direction of reopening

New CDC guidance released this week, issuing recommendations that people who are vaccinated should wear masks in public, indoor settings in areas with high rates of disease.  

Google has announced in a letter to employees that they will be requiring vaccination in order to return to the company’s offices.     The company is also delaying its official return to the office from sometime in September to October 18th.      This joins Apple, who has also delayed, and indicated they will now require masks from customers and staff at most of its US stores.     Facebook has also indicated that vaccination will be required for any return to the office.    Netflix is imposing a requirement that casts and some crew be vaccinated for productions in the US.   Cisco has announced a hybrid work plan that has no mandates for how often employees go into the office.     Twitter is closing its San Francisco and New York offices and putting all other reopening plans on hold.  

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said employers can require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine or bar them from the office.     These announcements join companies like Adobe, VMWare, Twillio, and Asana, who had previously announced similar policies.  

According to LaSalle Network’s first Office Re-Entry Index published in March, 52% of respondents were not planning to mandate employee vaccinations and this number increased to 69% in the second index published earlier this month

In an article in MIT Technology Review, the best incentive to get the vaccine for those who have not? Paid time off.    It’s not a single solution, but particularly for hourly workers, where only about 50% have received paid time off to get or recover from the shot, it matters.  Workers in that group were more likely to be vaccinated.

According to a poll published earlier this year, 27% of remote workers with dependents said they would need a minimum of one to three months’ notice to “be able to go back to the office.”      A poll from GlassDoor indicates eagerness to return to the office had already started dropping in July when compared to April, down to 66% of respondents from 72%.  

Why do we care?

In a landscape where labor is in demand and has control, it may seem counter intuitive to impose a vaccine requirement.  I disagree.   There’s a competitive advantage here.    Offer support benefits for time off, including handling any recovery time, and create a supportive culture that includes creating a safe environment.     As of this recording, 56.9 percent of the U.S. population had received at least one dose of the vaccine.  That’s a majority.      Leaders on both sides of the aisle are speaking out now in favor of it.     Adddressing this pushes us closer to a open economy.     

Go where the puck is going – and that’s vaccination.