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Why You Might Not Be Returning to the Office Until Next Year

The New York Times: “In the nearly 18 months since the pandemic first forced companies to send their employees to work from home, the date companies have planned to bring workers back to offices has changed again and again. First it was January, a full year after the coronavirus first surfaced in China. January slipped to July, as tens of millions of people lined up across America to be vaccinated. But then the surge of vaccinations peaked, and the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus drove another spike in cases. For many companies, September became the new July. Now September is out as an option, and it’s anybody’s guess when workers will return to their offices in large numbers. Companies have new variables to consider, including mask mandates that have been dropped and ordered back; evidence that the effectiveness of vaccines, while still strong, may be waning; booster shots; and burned-out workers who are vaccinated at varying rates. There are also the differing infection rates across the country and a shifting power dynamic between employers and employees. In addition to Uber, companies including Google, Amazon, Apple and Starbucks have said they will postpone their return dates to next year. Executives say their rationale for the long delay is twofold: In addition to wanting to keep employees out of harm’s way, they are seeking an end to the roller coaster of anticipated return dates and further delays. The fits and starts make it difficult for employees to plan, and the hope is that a far-off return date will not need to be adjusted yet again…”

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