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Report: New Research from Paychex Reveals Workers’ Top Concerns Around COVID-19 Variants

February 23, 2022
Woman working with baby on lap

New research from Paychex, Inc., a leading provider of integrated human capital management software solutions for human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance services, reveals that workers continue to have significant worries related to the impact of COVID-19 variants. As the pandemic continues, employees have several workplace concerns, ranging from their health – and that of their families – to employment status. The research was conducted in partnership with Future Workplace, an Executive Networks member company.  

Top Workplace Concerns Around COVID-19 Variants 
According to the survey, bringing COVID-19 home from the workplace to their families is employees’ most common concern (43%). This was especially true for working parents with children at home, both single (53%) and one of two working parents (49%). Among the generations, 47% of Gen Z employees shared this concern; however, it was fairly consistent across all generations with Millennials closely following at 45%, Gen X at 42%, and Boomers at 36%.  

According to all respondents, the top concerns related to variants include:

  • Bringing COVID-19 home from the workplace to their families (43%)
  • Getting sick at work (39%)
  • Uncertainty about changing quarantine and safety guidelines (27%)
  • Losing their job (27%)

The Impact of COVID-19 Variants on Employment Status 
In addition to health concerns, the report revealed almost one third of workers (30%) feel that COVID-19 variants will impact their employment status. Specific employment status concerns were more common among the youngest generation and with employees who are parents with children at home.

Overall, the top three ways employees feel their employment status will be impacted include:

  • Working fewer hours (42%)
  • Losing their job (33%)
  • Having to look for a new job (26%)

“Employers need to consistently address employee concerns and questions about emerging COVID-19 variants as they pertain to health, safety, and job stability,” said Alison Stevens, director of HR Services at Paychex. “Employers can help provide reassurance to employees by implementing clear safety guidelines, offering workplace flexibility, and providing regular informational updates.” 

Employment Status Concerns Vary by Generation
Younger generations, specifically Gen Z and Millennials, who thought COVID-19 variants could impact their employment status were more likely to have concerns related to job security. These generations were more likely to say that they: 

  • May lose their job: Gen Z (40%), Millennials (36%)
  • May look for an additional job: Gen Z (33%), Millennials (24%)
  • May look for a new job: Gen Z (31%), Millennials (29%)

Employees in the Boomer generation that thought COVID-19 variants could impact their employment status were more likely to say it could push them into early retirement (32%).

Working Parents with Children at Home Face Several Concerns 
Parents with children at home, especially single parents, are strongly affected by what emerging COVID-19 variants mean for their health and safety and that of their families, as well as their employment status. Single working parents with children at home were more likely to have concerns with: 

  • Bringing COVID-19 home from the workplace to their family (53%)
  • Losing their job (40%)
  • Uncertainty about vaccine and booster mandates (33%)
  • Their children moving to remote learning (25%)
  • Their employer requiring them to come back to the office too soon (22%)

“When it comes to concerns among employees about emerging variants, there isn’t a one-size-fits all solution,” said Jeanne Meister, the founder of Future Workplace and executive vice president at Executive Networks. “With notable differences among generations and parental status, employers need to create policies and guidelines with the flexibility to accommodate workers’ unique situations.”

For further insight from this survey please view the full research report.

About the Research 
This data is the result of an online survey of 601 full-time employees at small to mid-size businesses in the U.S. fielded from January 20-28, 2022. This is a survey in a series of research reports administered by Future Workplace that will focus on the employee point of view and pinpoint top concerns, priorities, and trends facing the modern workforce.

Acerca de Paychex
Paychex, Inc. (Nasdaq: PAYX) is a leading provider of integrated human capital management solutions for human resources, payroll, benefits, and insurance services. By combining its innovative software-as-a-service technology and mobility platform with dedicated, personal service, Paychex empowers small- and medium-sized business owners to focus on the growth and management of their business. Backed by 50 years of industry expertise, Paychex serves more than 710,000 payroll clients as of May 31, 2021 across more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Europe, and pays one out of every 12 American private sector employees. Learn more about Paychex by visiting and stay connected on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Samantha Jean

Samantha Jean

Samantha Jean joined Paychex in October 2021 and serves as public relations program manager. In this role, she is responsible for advancing the company’s reputation as an HR outsourcing leader, overseeing HR research initiatives, and supporting the overall goals of the public relations department. Samantha is a graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego where she studied Public Relations and Graphic Design. Prior to joining Paychex, Samantha spent several years working in agency PR and marketing in both New York, NY and Rochester, NY.

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