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Return-to-Workplace Planning: Employers Mindful of Workers with Caregiving Responsibilities

The latest Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) pulse survey of business leaders found 65% reporting that their organizations have teams overseeing return-to-workplace planning. Another 26% say they haven’t formed such a task force yet, but are discussing doing so. 

In nearly three in four (72%) companies with those teams in place, chief HR officers—and to a lesser degree, select business unit leaders, and corporate communications leaders—are among those involved in crafting return strategies. Only 11% of survey respondents said their Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) leaders were part of the groups. 

However, that lack of representation on return-to-workplace task forces doesn’t mean that D&I leaders aren’t making their voices heard. That’s evidenced by survey results that confirm organizations are giving special consideration to specific groups of employees when planning return-to-the-workplace strategies. 

Employees responsible for the care of others topped the list:  

  • 63% of organizations are focusing on employees with childcare duties.  
  • 45% are considering workers who are providing eldercare.  

What groups are you making special considerations for in your return-to-workplace planning?  

Special considerations for return to work planning

An all-that-apply response option means total exceeds 100% 

Other employee groups most likely to receive special consideration in return-to-workplace plans include: 

  • Essential employees whose jobs kept them working onsite
  • Individuals in customer-facing job roles
  • Workers who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 

According to surveyed business leaders, flexibility is the watchword for employees responsible for the care of others. By far (both noted by 92% of respondents), the top return-to-workplace options under consideration to accommodate those workers:  

  • Flexible work schedules to enable adjustment of days/hours
  • Permission to continue working from home 

Other pulse survey questions addressed the percentage of time organizational leaders are devoting to return-to-workplace planning, attention to the needs of employees who have continued to work onsite, and policies and protocols needed to support employees’ safe return to the workplace. 

Download the full survey results—due to the current global health and productivity crisis affecting everyone, i4cp is making all related ongoing research publicly available.

We also encourage you to visit for other employer resources including discussion forums, next practices, useful resources, and more.

Carol Morrison
Carol Morrison is a Senior Research Analyst and Associate Editor with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), specializing in workforce well-being research.