BOSTON (WPRI) — A survey of Massachusetts employers and employees found less than half of workers who are currently remote are expected to return to the office by September.

The survey, conducted by the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP), was conducted from April 12 to May 10 of this year, with 110 companies representing 113,505 employees in the state participating.

Even by January of 2022, the MACP estimates 62% of workers will return to the office, a shift from when the partnership last surveyed employers in December, when the group’s polling estimated 61% would return by September of 2021, and 81% would return by 2022.

The survey also found 36% of companies are considering reducing their physical footprint in Massachusetts.

“This survey affirms what we are seeing in the market as companies renew leases,” said Tamara
Small, CEO of NAIOP Massachusetts, The Commercial Real Estate Development Association.

The MACP found 82% of companies surveyed are planning to offer increased remote or hybrid work options.

Previously, those surveyed cited COVID-19 infection rates, the reopening of schools, and waiting for a vaccine among the reasons they were waiting to return to work in person.

In the latest survey, employers are citing employee engagement, employee sentiment, employee productivity, employee recruitment, and work-life balance among the top factors in their reasons to offer remote or hybrid arrangements.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • The majority of companies (51%) anticipate that Friday will have the largest percent of employees working remotely.
  • The majority of companies are projecting that Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday will have the most on-site activity with over 50% of companies expecting 51-100% of their employees returning to the office.
  • Employers estimate that 83% of employees are willing to be vaccinated.
  • Paid time off is the most frequently cited employer-provided support for employees receiving a vaccine – information on registration, booking appointments, and general eligibility were listed as other top supports offered.
  • 60% of employers report concern over side effects/safety of vaccine as top reason why employees may choose not to be vaccinated.
  • 54% of employers report that it is somewhat or extremely unlikely that they will mandate vaccinations.

The majority of the surveyed employers, 57%, are headquartered in the Boston/Cambridge area, with another 35% located in suburban areas within I-495 and 6% outside of I-495.