After another bout of return-to-office postponements, shifting to more permanent remote working arrangements could be the reality for some companies.
Cases of Covid-19 are rising again and are expected to do so throughout the winter. Additionally, vaccination rates have remained stagnant, which could have significant implications on how companies function in the future.
No longer can leaders kick the can down the road in hopes that the health crisis will improve.
Now is the time for companies to lay out long-term policies that will address employee safety and security across all industries.
According to Owl Labs’ 2021 State of Remote Work report, 73% of workers who worked remotely during the pandemic have come back into the office for at least one day a week, but still oppose a full return.
As a result, office occupancy is being impacted, with an October survey from the Partnership for New York City finding that just 8% of Manhattan office workers are in the office five days each week.
Notably, this survey was conducted before the most recent spike of cases, indicating that these levels are expected to worsen in the coming months.
Although it appears that remote working will remain a constant theme for the foreseeable future, it mostly applies to white collar workers. For those in other industries, such as retail, food and beverage, manufacturing, and healthcare, working from home isn’t an option.
Overall, the ongoing waves of Covid may lead business leaders to adopt more long-term hybrid and remote work solutions for employees.
While this could mean good things for the safety of office workers, leaders need to adopt better strategies to keep the economy going, while supporting the security of service industry employees.