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View the latest results of the Employee Retention Index

Rise of delta variant triggers return to workplace concerns for more than half of Seattle workers

New Eagle Hill consulting research finds 45 percent of Seattle employees support higher insurance rates for unvaccinated workers
Most Seattleites support employer mandates for vaccinations and vaccine documentation

Arlington, Va., August 31, 2021 – Fifty-seven percent of working Seattleites say that the rise of the COVID-19 delta variant impacts their willingness to return to the workplace. Sixty percent of workers say the variant has increased concerns about contracting COVID-19. Most workers say the variant means they will take extra precautions at work (69 percent) and in their personal life (72 percent). Employees indicate that they would feel more comfortable in their workplace (66 percent) than going to a restaurant (34 percent) during the ongoing pandemic. 

When asked about whether unvaccinated employees should pay higher insurance rates, a large share of Seattle workers (45 percent) are supportive of such a move. And most Seattle employees (59 percent) support employer vaccines mandates before employees return to the workplace, as large employers in Seattle like Microsoft announce vaccine requirements.   

This workforce sentiment research from Eagle Hill Consulting comes as federal regulators have granted full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine and as many employers announce delays in back to the workplace plans due to rising COVID-19 delta variant cases, hospitalizations and deaths, largely among the unvaccinated. 

The 2021 Eagle Hill Consulting Seattle 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. 

“Approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a game changer for Seattle employers,” says Carrie Miceli, who leads the Technology, Media and Entertainment practice in Eagle Hill Consulting’s Seattle office. With Food and Drug Administration licensing, more Seattle employers are mandating worker vaccinations.”

“At the same time, the COVID-19 summer surge is upending Seattle employers return to the workplace plans,” Miceli said. “A large portion of the Seattle workforce is worried about the delta variant, and many employers are taking action. They’re pushing back return to the workplace dates, requiring vaccines for workers, and maintaining strict health and safety protocols.” 

“It will be critical for Seattle employers to remain flexible and listen to employee views, so they are best positioned to navigate through even more COVID-19 uncertainty. Employers need to fully understand employee preferences given the acute labor shortage. Unlike the early days of the pandemic, Seattle workers aren’t afraid to quit their jobs. Retaining talent means creating a culture and work environment – virtual or in person – that is aligned with the workforce,” Miceli explained.     

Conducted by Ipsos from August 11-16, 2021, this national survey includes 510 employees in the Seattle Metropolitan. This poll follows similar research conducted from April 7-9, 2021.

Seattle employees support employer action as workers return to in-person work, according to the research. 

  • Most employees (59 percent) support employer vaccines mandates before workers return to the workplace.  
  • Employees are even more supportive (66 percent) of employers asking about worker vaccination status. 
  • Most workers support employers requiring provide proof of vaccination, with 61 percent supporting a documentation requirement.   
  • 67 percent of workers support employers offering incentives to vaccinated employees. 
  • More than two-thirds (67 percent) support employers instituting precautions for unvaccinated employees. 

Seattle employees are increasingly supportive of punitive actions for unvaccinated employees, the polling reveals. 

  • Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of workers say non-vaccinated employees should not be given special allowances to work from home, up from 50 percent in April. 
  • More than half of workers (56 percent) say non-vaccinated employees should not be allowed to travel for work, up from 52 percent in April. 
  • Half of workers (51 percent) say non-vaccinated employees should not be permitted to work in-person with customers, up slightly (49 percent) from April.
  • Nearly half workers (48 percent) say non-vaccinated employees should be not allowed to work in-person with co-workers, holding steady from April (48 percent).  

There is broad support among Seattle workers for employer COVID-19 testing and safety protocols according to the survey. 

  • Regarding social distancing, 87 percent concur that employers should require or encourage social distancing.
  • Regarding masks, 83 percent agree on employers requiring or encouraging mask use.
  • For temperature checks at the workplace, 79 percent say employers should encourage or require temperature checks.
  • When it comes to regular COVID-19 testing for all employees, 74 percent support employers requiring or encouraging testing.

Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Strategy & Performance, Talent, and Change. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, from financial services to healthcare to media & entertainment. Eagle Hill has offices in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Boston, MA and Seattle, WA. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.

Media Contact: Susan Nealon | 703.229.8600 | snealon@eaglehillconsulting.com | @WeAreEagleHill