By Paul Davidson
Is work from home here to stay?
Omicron pauses return to office plans.
The omicron variant has thrown America’s great return to the office into disarray – perhaps for months.
or are considering doing so because of the latest COVID-19 spike, according to human resources experts and surveys.
Most companies who had notified employees they would need to come back to the office at least part time early next year have pushed back those plans,
Among those slamming the brakes on office reopenings are household names such as Apple, Ford Motor and Fidelity Investments.
— Nicholas Bloom, Stanford University economics professor who has studied the work-from-home trend.
Most executives have just abandoned the return to the office until omicron no longer poses a health threat.
Apple said on Dec. 16 it’s pushing off its return to the office, slated for Feb. 1, after several previous delays.
Google, Ford and Meta, formerly known as Facebook, are also letting employees postpone their return. Lyft, the ride-hailing company, told staffers they won’t be required to come back to offices until 2023.
More than half of employed Americans working from home said they would consider quitting if required to return to the workplace before they felt comfortable, according to a Harris Poll survey for OfficeSpace Software early this month.
It’s possible, of course, that omicron could wane within weeks, allowing firms to resume their back-to-office plans. Reports that omicron may be less severe are encouraging.
But it also could be February or March before omicron recedes as a health hazard, Bloom says.
At that point, companies should give employees at least two months before they have to return so they can change living arrangements, if necessary, he says.
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