As vaccines became readily available to the public, companies were confident that bringing workers back to the office in the fall of this year would be feasible.
However, because the Delta variant and low vaccination rates have led cases to surge, companies like Apple and Amazon revealed that they would be delaying their return-to-office dates to January of 2022.
Although it’s understandable why companies would feel it necessary to delay their office return, why January is being viewed as the right time is unclear. In fact, if the virus continues to flow in the way we understand it, January will see another peak in cases.
At their core, these delays seem like a resistance to what long-term plans may have to look like. While companies are committing to hybrid arrangements, employees have a different view of what should be done.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment report, most white-collar workers are already in the office at least part of the time. However, 46% of those in “computer and mathematical occupations” are still working remotely due to the pandemic.
Among a cloud of uncertainty, one aspect of this era that is clear is that there may never be the perfect time to return to the office. Waiting until the health crisis totally subsides feels improbable, so companies need to create an agile, long-term strategy moving forward.