The Continuing Spread of COVID-19 is Keeping Most Employers in a Holding Pattern (i4cp login required)

Productivity

This week’s pulse survey conducted
by the Institute for Corporate Production (i4cp) found that the continuing
spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. is compelling companies to rethink planning for
workers to head back to the office

Of the 107 business professionals polled, 35% said that
recent increases in new infections of the virus have affected their return to
the workplace planning and timelines, while 27% said the pandemic hasn’t had
any impact on their plans or timelines.

Decision making about asking workers to return to the office
is on indefinite hold in 30% of organizations; 22% have announced to their
workforces that they should plan to work remotely until the end of 2020. Current policy on working remotely 

Trepidation about these decisions is understandable: As of
July 30th  more
than four million cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the U.S.
and
there have been more than 150,000
deaths
.

Among the narrative comments made by survey respondents,
some noted that following the respective state governmental guidelines, their organizations
had begun to execute return to the office plans, but were forced to abandon
transitioning workers back to the office due to surges in new COVID-19 infections. 

Only 13% said that their workers have already returned to
the office on a voluntary basis. Others are taking tentative steps—some noted
approaches such as bringing back small groups of employees to the office as a
pilot and assessing at the end of a few weeks.

But some employers are hopeful that they can begin to return
workers to the office in time for the traditional start of the school year.

“We are aligning with back to school and local guidance—we plan
to reopen offices at 10% capacity after Labor Day (masks required); all others
work from home until further notice,” wrote one respondent.

Conversely, some organizations are resigned to the long-haul,
committing to and announcing their decisions on employees continuing to work
remotely into next year.

“We are offering a completely flexible approach to work from
anywhere now,” said one participant.

“We won’t pick an arbitrary date and will not require people
to return to work until they feel safe; we have announced that through at least
end of Jan 2021 we are continuing to be remote—those who wish to can return
voluntarily under very strict guidelines,” said another.

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