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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies around the world are trying to solve the back-to-work puzzle — but few workers trust their bosses to make the right decisions.

By the numbers: Just 14% of employees trust CEOs or senior managers to lead the return to work, according to an Edelman survey. Only half believe their offices are safe.

Between the lines: There's little consensus regarding which safety measures are needed for people to return to offices. Only about half of Americans think that masks and social distancing should be mandated, and even fewer think that temperature checks and plastic dividers are necessary.

  • Looking ahead: Many CEOs are looking for a vaccine before reopening workplaces, but 42% of Americans say they're either unsure or determined not to take a vaccine.

Why it matters: "This return to workplace is huge for business, if done safely and well," says Edelman Global CEO Richard Edelman. "If not, you’ll have a 2008 moment, when trust in business was really diminished."

Workers also expect their bosses to take a stand against systemic racism, per another new Edelman report.

  • 61% of American expect corporations to publicly speak out against racial injustice.
  • But while 62% trust small businesses to do so, only 43% feel the same way about large companies.
  • Still, people have placed far more trust in companies to respond to racial injustice (71%) than in the government (36%).

The bottom line: Between navigating the return to work and responding to racial justice protests, businesses have an opportunity to distinguish themselves to workers and consumers alike.

Go deeper

Dec 17, 2020 - Health

Biden set to take coronavirus vaccine in public next week

President-elect Biden during a Dec. 11 event in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President-elect Biden plans to take the COVID-19 vaccine in public and he could receive a dose as early as next week, his transition team confirmed to Axios Wednesday.

Details: "I don't want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take," Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, Wednesday. "When I do it, I'll do it publicly, so you can all witness my getting it done."

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.