Delta Variant Delays Office Returns
Many were returning to the office due to the vaccination rollouts. Society appeared to be moving toward a post-COVID pandemic new normal. However, rising cases of the delta variant changed the pandemic endgame and impacted returns to the office.
The Delta Variant
Recently, the CDC released updated guidance on how to respond to the delta variant. This guidance was released due to a rise in COVID cases and hospitalizations across the United States. The CDC is calling for a return for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors. Additionally, there are encouragements for people to continue to get the vaccination. The narrative regarding the delta variant has created an air of uneasiness for corporations and their employees regarding their return to the office. As delta surges, companies have to weigh their options.
Large Corporations Hesitant to Return
The spread of the COVID delta variant has caused many of the largest corporations to delay their returns to the office. To illustrate, Facebook has delayed their return to the office was again. This time as a direct response to the growing concerns of the delta variant. Facebook will not require employees to return to the office until January 2022. The company’s original plan was to have half of its workforce return to the office in September 2021. Then, it would have the full return of its workers occur in October 2021.
Apple has pushed back its return to the office by at least a month. Their plans are tentative due to the shifting nature of the number of delta variant cases. They told their employees that they would give them a month’s warning before the in-person return to the office. Many tech companies have decided to have remote work become permanent. However, Apple seems to be hesitant to lose its in-person workplace, even though there is internal advocacy for remote work to become permanent.
Other major corporations delaying in-person office:
- Amazon corporate workers will not return until at least January 2022. Like many of the other corporate giants, they also wanted to return to the office this September.
- Microsoft intends to reopen in October with proof of vaccinations from their employees.
- Uber pushed back its return date from September to October.
- Lyft is airing on the side of caution with a return date not until February 2022 at the earliest.
Satisfied Remote Workers
Many have expressed their preference for working from home. There are many benefits that workers have experienced from working from home.
- It eradicates long commutes. Commuters spend about 100 hours commuting and 41 hours in traffic. All that time commuting and spent in traffic allows workers to transfer that doing other activities that they can enjoy. It means more availability for time with family and friends as well as for exercise and hobbies.
- It also creates more childcare flexibility and improved work-life balance.
- It also indicates increased productivity by up to 13 percent. Working remotely can increase productivity by up to 77 percent.
- Companies do not have to pay for office space, freeing up capital for many corporations. This would also cut down office supplies expenses.
- Software such as Zoom and Slack in today’s day and age allows for easy communication among teams.
- Companies offering work-from-home adds a competitive advantage for them during the hiring process. Many might leave their current employment for work-from-home benefits.
With all these return-to-office delays, many workers are not complaining. Instead, they are enjoying all the benefits of working from home as well as feeling safe from many of the concerns regarding the delta variant.
Workers Yearning for Back-to-Office Normalcy
However, some people may prefer the in-office setting. For those starting new remote jobs, it may be difficult to get the feel of the company culture through the computer screen. They do not have the opportunity to emulate their coworkers to get used to their new position. Many may miss the social interactions that in-office culture brings. Working from home can bring on solitude that some personality types may not click with.