Companies Keep Pushing Back Their Office-Reopening Plans

February 11, 2021

As last year came to a close and news about Covid-19 vaccinations became more optimistic, companies across the country hoped that a quick vaccine rollout would allow them to reopen offices as early as spring 2021. That rapid rollout still has not come to pass, though, causing many businesses to push back their office-reopening plans until September at the earliest. In the meantime, millions of employees will continue to work remotely until the pandemic is finally under control.

For example, the Nashville-based marketing firm TechnologyAdvice first told staffers that they would be back in the office by February 1st. When that became unrealistic, the company rescheduled for August and then switched to late autumn. TechnologyAdvice plans to offer a hybrid schedule where employees will be able to choose between working remotely or at the office. Other companies like UPS and Fidelity investments have not released a time-table for bringing employees back into offices as they keep a close watch on the progression of the pandemic. 

“Everyone’s in the moment of limbo. They want certainty, but they know they can’t have it,” said Elizabeth Mygatt, a consultant at McKinsey & Co. “I have seen fewer companies be actually super clear on what the future looks like.” According to a survey of 2,200 workers conducted by the Conference Board, 44 percent of respondents said they did not know their employer’s plans for returning to the office. Other companies like Google and the accounting firm Grant Thornton are aiming to get back by Labor Day, but all that depends on a strong vaccine rollout through the spring and summer.

Questions:

  1. Why have many companies pushed back plans to reopen their offices?   
  2. Do you think many companies will be able to safely bring workers back to offices by the fall? Why or why not?

Source: Chip Cutter, “Another Remote-Work Year Looms as Office-Reopening Plans Are Delayed,” The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2021.

Leave a Reply