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Colleagues who identify as people of color are more hesitant about returning to the office than white employees, according to a new report by Workhuman. Almost 59% of people of color respondents stated their plans had either changed or they do not plan to return to the office at all as a result of the rising spread of the Delta variant.

This comes from human workplace pioneer Workhuman‘s inaugural Human Workplace Index, which explores employee sentiment about the ever-changing workplace.

Forcing employees to return to work before they’re ready is also not only proving to be a sign of irresponsible leadership, but also a significant impediment to staff retention: 40% of employees plan to leave their jobs within the next 90 days, and 61% within the next year.

“The very nature of work has changed drastically over the past year, so it’s unreasonable to think we can return to how things used to be,” said Steve Pemberton, Workhuman’s CHRO. “In this new work paradigm, employees are demanding their voices and feelings be heard. Companies not willing to meet them where they are and embrace diversity of opinion are showing their lack of understanding of how the future of work should be, and will face a reckoning for it.”

Surveying 1,000 full-time U.S. employees, Workhuman focused on the return to work and the “Great Resignation.” Findings show that responsible leaders looking to navigate the current climate empathetically need to adopt measures that keep employees both physically and psychologically safe. Stemming from the anxiety around returning in person, flexibility in the workplace is in high demand. When given the choice, the option for flexible work days was the top choice for 35% of women and 36% of POC respondents, while 34% of men would prefer a four-day workweek.

Read the full report by Workhuman.

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