A number of recent surveys show mixed messages on future working patterns as more people receive COVID-19 vaccine jabs.

Most UK businesses reckon that those employees who come back into offices will have done so by the end of this year, said Willis Towers Watson. But the survey said that about a quarter of workers are likely to work remotely in future. In addition, two in five employees expect to opt fo hybrid working.

However, businesses are less keen on insisting on workers needing to get a jab. Only one in seven businesses in the survey said they offered incentives for them to do so.

Split on productivity

This article from the Harvard Business Review said that managers were split on how effective homeworkers are. Managers like to see people working, or tend not to believe they are.

In fact, four in ten managers expressed low confidence in managing staff remotely. A similar number said they could not effectively help people do their jobs well.

“Altogether, the picture is not a rosy one,” the article concluded. “A substantial number of managers have low confidence in their capability to lead remotely, have rather negative views about this work practice, and distrust their own workers.”

Geographical splits

Not surprisingly, attitudes differ across geographies. The recruiter Robert Half, for instance, found differences in approach across cities, companies and job types in the US.

About seven in ten businesses want their workers onsite full-time after the pandemic. But many employees say they prefer hybrid working. About half say they want to continue – with one in three remote workers saying they would look for new jobs if they were made to return.

“When it comes to hybrid work, there’s a disconnect between what managers prefer and what employees expect,” said Robert Half senior executive director Paul McDonald. “But in this talent-driven market, especially, companies need to prioritise their people and look to the future. Providing flexibility is a low-cost way to create a positive employee experience and inclusive workplace culture.”