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Return to Work, as in the Office

You’re kidding, right?

It is a brave new world out there as businesses and governments begin to “try to set” return to work policies.

See below. This is extracted from a New York Times article on the topic:

“Optimism about return-to-office plans, across industries and cities, is slowly abating. When asked in early 2021 about the share of their workers who would be back in the office five days a week in the future, executives said 50 percent; now that percentage is down to 20, according to a recent survey from the consulting firm Gartner. Office occupancy across the country plateaued last month at around 43 percent as Covid cases spiked again, according to data from Kastle, a security firm.

“The vast majority of Americans, particularly those in the service sector and low-wage jobs, have been working in person throughout the pandemic. But those who were able to work remotely got attached to the flexibility. In a January survey, the Pew Research Center found that 60 percent of workers whose jobs can be done at home wanted to work remotely most or all of the time.

“‘What is abundantly clear is that there are fewer and fewer companies expecting their employees to be in the office five days a week,’ said Brian Kropp, vice president in Gartner’s human resources practice. ‘Even some of the major companies that came out and said ‘We want our employees in the office five days a week’ are starting to backtrack.’”

I don’t know if this is happening in middle America, but in larger metropolitan areas the thought that ping pong tables and free snacks are going to entice people to commuting to work is fading fast.

Even governments are struggling a bit. The city of Seattle has established a minimum of two days in the office as a standard and still some employees are not happy with the leeway they have been given.

I’m reminded of the song “How ‘Ya Gonna Keep ’em Down on the Farm (After They’ve Seen Paree?).” Getting the genie back in the bottle and workers back in the cubicle may be challenging.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.