Big companies delay returning to offices — again

Some aiming for Labor Day return, but others have stopped all efforts

What’s the point of setting a deadline you’ll know you’ll miss? That seems to be the prevailing attitude in some C-suites when it comes to getting employees back in offices.

Some major companies, such as Alphabet and Grant Thornton LLP, have said employees will return to the office on Labor Day or at the end of the summer, but other firms have simply stopped making plans, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among the companies that have recently announced that work-from-home is here to stay forever are Salesforce, whose president recently declared that the “9-to-5 workday is dead,” and Spotify, which will implement a “work from anywhere” policy for its employees. Other major employers — including Zillow, Twitter and Dropbox — had already enacted similar policies.

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Elizabeth Mygatt at McKinsey & Co. said that she’s seeing an increased hesitancy among companies to announce return dates.

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“Everyone’s in the moment of limbo,” she told the publication. “They want certainty, but they know they can’t have it.”

A survey of 2,200 U.S workers found that 44 percent of respondents didn’t know what their companies’ plans to return to the office were, up from 37 percent in September.

With the rollout of the vaccine progressing more slowly than expected, new strains of the virus emerging and schools remaining remote, companies and employees are tempering their expectations of returning to normal this year.

In October, only about 10 percent of office workers in Manhattan returned to their desks, though some companies reported occupancy as high as 20 percent. But the number of employees reporting to their offices dropped again in the holiday season as infection rates began to rise.

[WSJ] — Erin Hudson