Despite COVID-19 vaccine, more US employees still uncomfortable returning to work: survey

More than half of U.S. employees said they felt uncomfortable returning to the office

As the historic distribution of a coronavirus vaccine begins in the U.S. on Monday, many companies continue to delay the return to the office, as employees are hesitant to go back into work, a new poll suggests.

U.S. health care facilities on Monday ushered in the COVID vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech for the most vulnerable, including frontline health care workers and residents at nursing homes and long-term care facilities. Despite the vaccine news, however, many workplaces are still taking precautions, delaying the return to offices and testing out hybrid workweeks.

Google announced it would delay its in-office return for employees to September 2021 and that it would be testing out a "flexible workweek," the tech giant told staffers in an email Sunday, the New York Times reported. Workers would be expected to be in the office for at least three days under the trial.

64% of Americans said they would feel uncomfortable returning to the office during pandemic. (iStock). 

And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees last week they would not be mandated to get vaccinated to return to the office when it reopens, the Daily Beast reported.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, meanwhile, anticipated a four-day workweek instead of five, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal recently where he addressed the challenges of remote work, calling it a "pure negative" that makes it more difficult for employees to share ideas in person. And Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in May said its employees would be able to work remotely "forever."


Many Americans are still grappling with the thought of returning to work full time, a new study says. More than half of American employees (64%) said they would feel uncomfortable returning to their office with 31% saying they would feel very uncomfortable at the thought of going back, according to a recently released survey by Pew Research Center.

The survey polled 10,332 U.S. adults, including 5,858 employed workers with one or multiple jobs between Oct. 13 and Oct. 19 and found that just 11% said they would never want to work from home. Of those surveyed, 58% of workers said fear of being exposed to the virus while returning to the office was concerning.

And while most workers polled in the Pew survey had remote work capabilities, the thought of returning to work is particularly difficult for those without a four-year college degree, 23% of whom say they are unable to do their jobs remotely.


As of Monday, the U.S. reported more than 16.2 million COVID cases, and more than 299,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.