How we’re being vaxxed and tracked in the workplace

With almost 150 million Americans vaccinated, more than 60% of US employers will require proof of vaccination from their employees, according to a new survey from Arizona State University with support from the Rockefeller Foundation.

News like this pops up nearly every day with descriptions of novel ways that American businesses can fight COVID. Below are a few extreme examples.

Negative and positive reinforcement

Some companies are using a “there will be consequences” approach to incentivize their employees to get vaccinated. Nearly half (42%) of companies said that employees won’t be able to return to the physical workplace unless they are fully vaccinated. And 35% of companies indicated that they would take disciplinary action, including termination, if need be. 

Other companies are using more positive incentives to encourage their employees to vaccinate. In February, Kroger announced that all associates who are vaccinated will receive a one-time payment of 100 dollars. Amtrak is giving paid leave for those who are feeling bad, day-after side effects of the vaccine. 

These types of incentives not only work but also reassure employees that the company has their health and safety in mind. The vaccine doesn’t just help the company, it helps the community, “since we believe the vaccine offers the best way to keep our employees safe and contribute to the wellness of local communities,” said Olivia Irvin, an Amtrak PR manager in Oakland, Calif.

Download the app or else!

Goldman Sachs is going even further; they sent a memo on April 22 requiring employees to download a vaccine tracker within its “Canopy App,” cloud-based accounting software. This will allow each individual to be carefully monitored and can pinpoint who has — or who has not — been vaccinated already. 

What’s so important about the vaccine tracker is that it’s a database of information. For Goldman, this app will tell them “the potential need for a(n) on/near-site firm-sponsored vaccination program,” an essential part in stopping the spread of COVID. 

How about anxious workers? 

In order to combat COVID-induced workplace anxiety, companies are offering different incentives to appeal to employee needs. In the survey, about 73% of businesses intend to offer flexible work arrangements when the pandemic is over.

And if you’re worried how co-workers will prove they’ve been vaccinated, there’s the Real Vaccination ID, a plastic drivers’ license-sized card that has the name, address, date of birth, and vaccination status — or a waiver status for those who cannot receive the vaccine due to a preexisting medical condition. Some companies, such as Castlebranch in Wilmington, will be supplying them to their employees for free.