In most American businesses, January 2022 is the new Labor Day 2021, as the target date for a broader back-to-office movement.
According to a Gartner survey of 238 executives, at the end of August, 66% of organizations were delaying reopening offices due to the COVID variant. Many big names, including Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Starbucks, have postponed their plans to return to the New Year in what workplace consultants call “the big weight.”
But after 18 months of working from home during the pandemic, office workers are tired of waiting together for news of their recalls and are even skeptical of announcements when they arrive. For some, they are using the overtime to advocate for more flexibility in their employer’s ever-changing plans.
“Anxiety is real”
Workplace strategists routinely advise leaders to be transparent with their decision times and the factors they consider, and to give people as much notice as possible to prepare for their return.
Not everyone follows this guideline.
Doug Underwood, 40, works as a computer scientist near Dayton, Ohio. In the second week of September, he was told he expected to be back in full-time power on September 16, which caused him to “worry and worry” about the increase in COVID cases due to the delta variant. “Is it even safe to go back to work?” She wondered. She has given custody of her 8-year-old child The son further fears that by going to an office regularly, he will increase the risk of his child falling ill in his care because he is too young to be vaccinated.
undergrowth He is said to have had several panic attacks in the office when he learns that he is the only person who wears a mask and keeps his distance from others. During a recent visit, Underwood spoke to a colleague who revealed that she had not been vaccinated and that she had no plans to be vaccinated immediately.
“The concern is real, and I can see so many people suffering from PTSD,” Underwood said of his return to the office.
But last Friday, less than a week before his scheduled return, the Underwood employer called a virtual meeting and announced that its offices were postponing their full reopening until further notice due to the virus situation. Eh. A new schedule will be evaluated on a monthly basis, Underwood says, in which case employees will return in person three days a week.
“I enjoy more time at home, but I have to take care of the work and follow what the company says,” says Underwood. “It’s part of choosing a company to stay with. You can express your opinion, but the leaders make the decisions.
Additional challenges for caregivers
Near Newark, New Jersey, Francisco Miranda wonders if his employer’s back-to-work plan might force his hand into finding a new job elsewhere. The 35-year-old works as a paralegal and, at least for now, is expected to resume his duties by mid-October.
But at the start of the pandemic, Miranda moved home and was a babysitter to her older parents, including her father, who suffers from health problems after suffering a heart attack five years ago.
It gives Miranda the peace of mind to be there for her family when they need her. For example, he says that two weeks ago his mother came to his home office during the day because his father had chest pain and had to go to the hospital.
“I happened to be here, so I could take her,” Miranda said. “In an alternate world, if I was back in the office, I would have to quit work, get in my car, go home. Who knows, it will be too late.
Miranda is reluctant to give up this family responsibility for paid work that she can easily do at home: “If I work in an office, when something really sad happens, I know it. I’m going to kick myself.
Activists demand more flexibility
When his office reopens, Miranda will have to come back three days a week, but he and his colleagues will have to change their office days every week. Miranda says it’s to discourage people from working from home on consecutive Mondays and Fridays. He says supervisors aren’t willing to put up with flexibilities, such as his asking to work in the office two days a week instead of three, or some coworkers who really want to come back to full-time.
“Morale is low,” says Miranda, but she’s not sure finding a new job elsewhere is an option. The tight labor market, where there are more jobs open than there are people to fill them, does not benefit everyone equally.
Workplace leaders began predicting mass quits in early 2021, as vaccination efforts intensified and the economic recovery weakened. According to an August survey by PwC of 1,007 full-time and part-time U.S. employees, some 65% of workers are currently looking for new jobs. This is almost double the 35% of workers who said they were looking for a new job in May.
Millions of people have already quit their jobs during the so-called “big resignation” this summer.
Workplace strategists stress that employers should pay more attention to the needs and demands of existing employees to avoid costly turnover.
Yet “our law firm made it seem like it didn’t matter what we say,” says Miranda. “We waited for an opportunity to start a dialogue to meet the wishes of each employee, but that ability was taken away from us. We were just told, ‘This is what’s going to happen.’ “
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