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COVID-19 delta variant impact on return to office plans in Greater Boston

With the rise of the COVID-19 delta variant, the road ahead remains complicated as many employers are announcing delays or shifts in their return to work plans. The good news is that nearly 2 in 3 Boston workers (62%) are more comfortable going to their workplace than a restaurant, but employees still have concerns about that return. 

New Eagle Hill Consulting research finds Boston employees have strong views on employer vaccination requirements and how their organization should manage unvaccinated colleagues.

With the delta variant surge, it’s more important than ever that employers listen to employees while navigating the return to work and hybrid workplace. Creating a culture and work environment – virtual or in person – that aligns with employee preferences is key to retaining talent amid the ongoing workplace changes brought about by the pandemic.

– Jonathan Gove, Boston Office Lead

The COVID-19 delta variant triggers workplace concerns for many Boston workers

The rise in COVID-19 delta variant impacts:


My willingness to go to the workplace


Precautions I take at work

Boston workers support strong vaccine stances from employers

The majority of Boston workers want their employers to:

Require employee

56% YES
44% NO

Require proof
of vaccination

60% YES
40% NO

Ask about
vaccination status

64% YES
36% NO

Offer incentives (such as money, paid time off, gift cards, etc.) for vaccination

68% YES
32% NO

Boston employees are supportive of punitive actions for unvaccinated colleagues

Many Boston workers say unvaccinated colleagues should NOT be allowed to participate in workplace activities.

 Should your employer allow employees who choose not to get vaccinated to:

62% NO
38% YES

Be given special allowances to work from home

56% NO
44% YES

Travel for work

54% NO
46% YES

Work in-person
with customers

46% NO
54% YES

Work in-person
with co‑workers

A growing number of Boston workers say unvaccinated colleagues should NOT be able to maintain their employment.

Should your employer allow employees who choose not to get vaccinated to be able to continue to work with the organization?

26% NO

+6% since May

Over 40% of Boston workers think unvaccinated employees should pay higher health insurance rates.

Should unvaccinated employees be expected to pay higher health insurance rates?

41% YES
59% NO

The majority of Boston workers want their employers to play an active role in COVID-19 precautions

My employer should require or encourage employees to:


Social distance


Wear masks


Receive regular
COVID-19 testing


Have their
temperature checked


Take COVID test before
entering the workplace


Wear personal
protective equipment

2 in 3 Boston workers want employers to institute special precautions for the unvaccinated.

Should your employer institute special precautions for unvaccinated?

66% YES
34% NO

The 2021 Eagle Hill Consulting Boston COVID-19 Vaccines and the Workplace Survey measures employee sentiment about COVID-19 vaccines, returning to the workplace, as well as testing and safety protocols. Conducted by Ipsos from August 11-16, 2021, this survey includes 522 respondents from a random sample of employees in the Greater Boston area. This poll follows similar research conducted from May 12-17, 2021.