The surge of the COVID-19 Delta variant in H2 2021 has again delayed many companies’ return-to-office plans. A rapidly-shifting regulatory environment – including new action by President Biden that will require all employees at firms of 100-plus employees (totaling 80 million workers) to either be vaccinated or get tested weekly – has brought the question of workplace vaccination mandates to the forefront.  

Yet, according to Forrester, employee sentiments are far from unanimous.  

A new Forrester report offers guidance on the shifting decision context for vaccination mandates and the risks associated with imposing a mandate – and the more unpredictable risks associated with not imposing one. Key takeaways of this research include:

  • A thin majority favors vaccination mandates. While some 59% of Americans now favor a vaccination mandate “in their own workplace,” there are still significant swaths of opposition: Gallup found that 44% opposed a mandate. 
  • Companies have been moving toward tracking and mandating vaccination. Polled before President Biden’s announcement, 78% of companies planned to track employee vaccination status, up from 55% who already did so by late August. Forthcoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance should accelerate these numbers. 
  • To comply with OSHA’s likely rules, organizations will need to decide whether to mandate vaccination or test employees weekly. While this is a contentious issue for most US organizations, they must make a decision as no decision will default to “weekly testing for the unvaccinated,” according to Forrester. Decisions should factor in long-term employee health, as well as the short- and long-term customer and business benefits. 
  • Vaccination mandates for employees are a legitimate tool for US companies to employ – albeit one with risks. Companies that are either planning vaccination mandates for employees or approaching them are taking several factors into consideration: workplace safety, regulatory requirements, employee concerns, and accepting that mandates are not a “panacea.” 

Additional insights about this topic can be found in the following Forrester blog.

To learn more about Forrester’s “Return to Work” research, visit here. 

To access this research or speak with a Forrester analyst, please reach out to