The Delta variant is wreaking havoc on company returns to office plans.
Uber, Apple and Google are among the latest to push back their availability dates for a month from September to October. Employment website Indeed took it one step further, announcing its return to employment date is now Jan. 3, 2022.
'Health risks are at a peak these days because of this pandemic and we are still learning about everything which happens every single day, Paul Wolfe, Indeed Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources told Yahoo Finance. 'Our guiding principle through the entire pandemic has been the safety of our employees.
Commuting time and costs are a top concern for workers who dread a return to the office, according to a recent Indeed report published in July.
Indeed surveyed 450 workers who worked remotely in June of the pandemic. Most employees surveyed are planning to return to the office sometime later this year, however, one-third will be required to do so in the next three months.
Forty-five percent of employees surveyed are most concerned about their commute time and associated health risks, while 38% are most frustrated by the additional out-of-pocket expenses of getting into office such as public transportation, gas, and tolls.
According to Indeed's external survey of workers, 32% of employees say they want a hybrid schedule that require them to travel to the office only two or three times a week, while 17% only want to be in the office a couple of times a month.
Twenty-eight percent of employees want to work at the office full-time, while 23% would prefer to work from home on a permanent basis. Four in 10 Americans, who worked from home at least once a week, would quit their jobs if they had to work at the office full-time, according to a July report. Another survey found that 65% of workers would accept a pay cut of 5% if it allowed them to continue to work from home permanently.
Wolfe says many workers have become less willing to give up flexibility they had working at home.
I like the fact that I can have coffee with my husband and dinner with my husband, and this has become part of my workday now, said Wolfe. "As long as I have work done, do I really need to get back, go to that old paradigm of work in office to get work done or be considered productive? And I believe the answer we've all learned through the last 17 months for most of us is no.
President Biden and many local officials expressed frustration with the vaccine rollout in the U.S. and implemented stricter measures such as mandating vaccines, obligatory masking, and frequent testing requirements for government workers.
Taking its cues from government officials, corporate America is also tightening its COVID restrictions. According to Disney, for example, on Friday, it is requiring vaccination proof at its sites from salaried and non-union employees.
'Employees who don't vaccinate already and are on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols and any employees still working from home will need to provide validation of vaccination prior to their return, Disney said.
Other companies like Tyson Foods, Ford, Walmart, Google, Citigroup and Facebook have added additional mask or vaccine requirements.
Wolfe cited the steady vaccine rollout in foreign countries as one of the main reasons why Indeed extended its work from home policy.
'We wanted to give some runway there. We wanted to let folks who work in countries where vaccine rollout isn't as robust as it is in the U.S. to have an opportunity, he said. Potential progress on CoVID is another reason that the return date for Indeed was pushed back. Top infectious disease expert Dr. Fauci has said that a vaccine for children as young as 4 could be available in a couple of months.
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