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Color’s 2021 Return to Workplace Survey: How Small and Mid-sized Businesses Are Thinking about Bringing Employees Back

Colman Murphy

In July 2021, Color surveyed over 200 small and mid-sized business owners and HR leaders to find out how smaller companies plan to address bringing people back to the workplace. This included Color customers as well as a representative sample of businesses across the U.S. Here are some highlights of what we found:

Reopening the office

The 200+ SMBs we surveyed were eager to bring their teams back together.

  • More than half — 53% — said they plan on fully reopening their workplace to all employees in the coming months. 
  • Less than a third (31%) said they’d reopen partially, with some employees continuing to work remotely.

Click here to download the full report.


A documented plan, or playing it by ear?

Most of the businesses we surveyed said they were putting their return-to-work plans in writing. A smaller portion of those surveyed were comfortable “winging it.”

  • More than 70% of companies surveyed said they either had a fully documented plan for reopening or were working on it. 
  • Only 29% said they wouldn’t create a detailed plan, and instead “play it by ear”

It’s worth noting that for some industry sectors such as healthcare and healthcare services, OSHA requires that you have a documented plan in place.

A stance on vaccinations

Whether or not your company mandates that employees be vaccinated prior to returning to the workplace, it’s important to communicate a clear stance.

  • 28% of those surveyed said they are requiring employees to be vaccinated before returning to work.
  • More than a quarter (26%) have asked all employees to share their vaccination status.

Requiring masks

According to a recent survey by The Harris Poll, 57% of people believe employees should be required to wear masks at work, even after being vaccinated for COVID-19. Another poll conducted by Ipsos for Eagle Hill Consulting puts that number at 81%. So far, SMB employers are taking a more conservative approach:

  • 42% have asked all employees to wear masks indoors
  • 47% have asked unvaccinated employees to wear masks 

COVID-19 testing

For most small and medium sized companies, testing remains a critical tool for bringing employees back to work safely.

  • While some companies said they would test all employees, and others said they would be prepared by simply having test kits on hand, 60% of companies are planning for some testing.

Click here to get the full report on how small and mid-sized businesses are planning to handle vaccination status, manage the physical workspace, prepare for COVID-19 testing, and more. 


Click here to learn about Color’s complete COVID-19 testing solution for small and mid-sized organizations.

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