The slow return to the office has left workplace activity in areas like London, New York and San Francisco to remain 50% below its pre-pandemic levels according to data from Google.
While some companies like Apple and JPMorgan Chase are preparing to bring their staffers back into the office in an effort to nurture their culture, the process is proving to be quite complicated.
This is because returning to the physical workplace depends on a few factors: vaccinations, the spread of variants, transportation, schools being open and pressure from employees to adopt more flexible arrangements.
Taking all of these factors into consideration, returning to pre-pandemic life may never happen and the pace in which cities recover is going to greatly differ.
For instance, Frankfurt’s Zeil retail district has seen an uptick in activity as areas begin to reopen.
However, according to Google’s data, weekday workplace mobility in the region is still down 17%. Its financial district remains quiet due to federal law requiring non-essential office workers to continue working remotely until the end of the month. Even more, the EU’s slow rollout of vaccines has delayed any sign of returning to normalcy.
On the other hand, most workers in Hong Kong have already returned to their desks. Infection numbers have stayed near zero for weeks and office attendance is nearing pre-pandemic levels.
Still, Hong Kong is still seeing low vaccination numbers, which could halt plans to fully reopen. Despite being one of the places in the world where vaccines are available to all adults, only 18.3% of the population has been fully vaccinated.