RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Cisco is the latest company to announce plans to go “all-in” on a hybrid approach to work. and vaccinations. The news coupled with developments from SAS represent what’s happening at two of the Triangle’s largest private sector employers.

Each has some 5,000 at their campuses – Cisco in RTP, SAS in Cary.

Global ecommerce services provider ChannelAdvisor also is requiring vaccinations for on-site work.

The company, which announced its plans on a blog post, noted that work is not where you go, but rather is what you do.

Jennifer Yamamoto, a spokesperson for the company, told WRAL TechWire that the global approach for July and August is that “all critical onsite workers must follow the COVID-19 protocols including masking, distancing, and testing for their location and their vaccination status.”

SAS requiring vaccinations before allowing employees to return to offices

Yamamoto described July and August as transition months, where the company will maintain current operational policies, and noted that for any employee to come to a physical office location, they would be required to be vaccinated and be deemed a critical worker.

“We will continue doing this while looking at the data and vaccination rates in various parts of the world, given we’re a global company,” said Yamamoto.  “We will continue to assess as we move to a more hybrid work model based off what we’re learning in the fall.”

SAS, meanwhile, is requiring employees to be vaccinated before returning to offices and is expending its own optional office work policy.

What’s happening elsewhere

Across the Triangle, insightsoftware, which recently brought in an $800 million investment from Hg, then acquired yet another company, is allowing employees to attend its headquarters office on a voluntary basis.

For insightsoftware employees, the company follows the latest CDC guidance, and requires masks inside the office, unless someone is fully vaccinated, Jerusha Jaitapker, a spokesperson for the company told WRAL TechWire.

“Throughout the pandemic – including the recent surge of the Delta variant – our priority is to ensure employees are safe while still delivering all essential services and support to our customers,” said Jaitapker.

Vaccinations are not required for insightsoftware employees, noted Jaitapker.  “But we would require an unvaccinated employee or visitor to wear a mask while inside the office.”

But these guidelines and policies may change, based on data and other guidelines from the CDC, said Jaitapker.

“Our employees are our most valuable asset, so while we will continue to monitor the situation and the need to distance, we recognize that flexible remote work policies have worked well for us and are a competitive advantage.

List of companies requiring vaccinations is growing, from Google to Twitter

A Triangle CEO told WRAL TechWire this week that they wouldn’t comment on vaccine requirements, noting that the issue is too prone to become too political.  Other Triangle companies are still discussing policies as they pertain to vaccines, when they would be required, and how and where their workers will be permitted to work.

ChannelAdvisor announced a permanent flexible work policy, effective in June.  And the company is requiring vaccinations for its employees to work from an office location in its United States offices, including headquarters in Morrisville.

“We have taken a stance that we want to encourage vaccinations,” said Beth Segovia, COO, ChannelAdvisor, who also told WRAL TechWire this week that company leaders are continuing to meet to determine whether to add an incentive, or set of incentives, to encourage currently unvaccinated employees to get vaccinated, prompted by the increasing spread of the Delta variant.

Managers face big challenges in handling vaccinated, unvaccinated workers

Wells Fargo, with some 35,000 employees based in North Carolina, is not currently requiring a COVID vaccine.

“We strongly encourage employees to consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine, but we are not currently requiring it,” said Josh Dunn, a spokesperson for Wells Fargo.  “Wells Fargo is offering all employees globally a COVID-19 vaccine paid time away program, providing up to eight hours of paid time off for vaccine appointments.

That’s in addition to regular paid time off, said Dunn. “By offering this vaccine time away program, we hope to make it as easy as possible for employees to get vaccinated.”

In a company memo shared with WRAL TechWire, Wells Fargo notes that plans for employees, who are currently working remotely, to return to the office for in-person work, have not changed in the last few weeks as the Delta variant spreads.

“Return to the office will begin on Sept. 7 and continue over several weeks, through October.  Returns will be organized by job function and location.  Each of you will receive specific communication in the coming weeks about when your building and team are ready for you to return,” the memo reads.

The memo also notes that the company is requiring employees to share their vaccination status with Human Resources, a policy that began on July 19.

“Choosing not to get vaccinated will not influence your ability to work remotely,” the memo states.

Tech job candidates: vaccination requirements not important, but remote work options are

PNC, which has branch offices across the state of North Carolina, and some corporate employees working in the Triangle, began to return employees to in-person workplaces on June 14.

“We plan to transition to a full return in November, dependent upon an analysis of key indicators that will help to determine the pacing of employees returning to our buildings,” said Marcey Zwiebel, Director, Corporate Public Relations, PNC Bank, N.A.  “We will continue to consult with the medical community throughout our planning, as the health and safety of all of our employees and customers remains at the forefront of the actions we are taking to address these complex issues.”

To require vaccines? Google, Facebook will, Apple may, other Triangle firms waiting

Cree, who will soon change the company name to Wolfspeed, is not requiring or incentivizing vaccinations, though Margaret Chadwick, the company’s chief HR officer, did tell WRAL TechWire that the company is encouraging employees to do what is best for their families and making it as easy as possible to access resources to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Given our priority on safety, the current trajectory of COVID-19, and the effectiveness of our work-from-home team, we have developed a “Work Where it Works” policy to encourage the continuation of remote working, support our remote team and further protect our essential, on-site workforce,” said Chadwick.  The company requires personal protective equipment at company facilities, and has put in place social distancing protocols as well.  Those remain in place, said Chadwick.

“What we’ve learned since March of last year is that many of our employees are just as productive working remotely as they were in the office,” said Chadwick, noting that their policy of work where it works is going to stay.  “That means employees will have a great deal of flexibility on an ongoing basis to determine with their manager what the best work places and times are for them,” noted Chadwick.

The company is actively hiring, with about 300 open positions, said Chadwick.  For some roles, like production operator, the company is offering a $2,000 sign-on bonus and ongoing education and career development resources.