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Exploring the Future of Working in the Office

August 17, 2021 / Employee Experience

Written By: Jordan Dunne

A few weeks ago, organizations across the country were announcing timelines for when employees would resume working in the office. At the same time, many employees were preparing for an end to their fully remote careers.  

Now, the Delta variant has raised new concerns about the continued spread of COVID-19. In response, many companies are rolling back their return-to-office plans for a late summer return, while some are reconsidering their vision for working in the office entirely. 

As new variants emerge, we’re discovering there’s still a lot to learn about COVID-19 and how it will impact work, life, and everything in between for the foreseeable future. The ongoing uncertainty has left employers and employees confused, anxious, and overwhelmed.  

If you’re unsure of your next move when it comes to bringing your people back into the office, you’re not alone. Every organization (like every individual) has its own unique goals, needs, and circumstances. While some industries are fully capable of allowing their employees to work remotely without impacting day-to-day operations, others require employees to work in the office or onsite. Industries like healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and hospitality depend on their employees to be there in-person each day, while industries allow for more flexibility. 

In Gartner’s 2021 Hybrid Work Employee Survey, more than half of the more than 2,400 employees surveyed stated that their employer’s approach to flexibility is an important factor in determining their continued employment with their current organization. And it seems like flexible working—at least to some degree—is growing in popularity. In a recent webinar with Virgin Pulse’s medical experts, we surveyed attendees on what their return-to-work model looks like, and the majority of respondents indicated that their organization has adopted a hybrid approach.  

Whether your teams are remote, hybrid, or onsite full-time, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to the future of work through and beyond COVID-19. Discover how other top companies are readjusting their return-to-workplace plans in response to the Delta variant, and how they expect the future of working in the office to look for their employees beyond the pandemic.  

  • Facebook recently announced that it will allow most full-time workers to remain remote if their job duties allow. They anticipate reopening their office at full capacity in October 2021, with the expectation that onsite employees will be in the office for at least half of the workweek.  
  • Twitter’s transition to remote teams has been in the works for nearly two years. Believing that employees can be more productive from home, Twitter has given its employees full autonomy when it comes to their work location. Offices will remain open and available to all, but remote work is fully supported. 
  • Microsoft is embracing a fully flexible work model, allowing employees to work where, when, and how they perform their best. However, there are some roles within the company that require onsite work during set hours.  

Keep your dispersed teams connected and productive with these tips. 

  • Google appears to be taking a hybrid approach, which has employees onsite at least three days a week. They recently shifted their return-to-workplace plans, announcing that they will allow up to 20% of their workforce to permanently work from home. The tech company also extended their current flexible work policy, granting all employees the option to work remotely from any location for up to four weeks out of the year. 
  • Hubspot has long recognized that some employees perform better when working in the office while others are more productive at home. In fact, about 10% of their workforce was remote before COVID-19, coining themselves as a “remote-ish” company. They recently announced that they’re dropping the “ish” from “remote-ish” and are ready to fully embrace the hybrid work model, offering options for “@home,” “@flex,” and “@office.” 
  • Several large banking companies, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, will be requiring the majority of employees to return to working in the office. The plan was to have all vaccinated employees back onsite by Labor Day, but those plans may be delayed due to the Delta variant. 
  • Apple also expects employees to return to working in the office, but only on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. The company will also permit employees to work remotely for up to two weeks a year. Currently, Apple hopes to welcome employees back in October 2021. 

Safely reopen workplaces and effectively navigate the next phase of COVID-19 with symptom monitoring tools, vaccine attestation, and real-time reporting. Learn more about VP Passport. 

While we can’t predict when the pandemic will end, we can tell you that building and maintaining a strong, wellbeing-focused organizational culture will help your people and your business succeed—no matter where your employees work. Connect with a Virgin Pulse wellbeing expert to boost employee health, resilience, and productivity for all members of your workforce.  

About The Author

Jordan Dunne is a copywriter and editor on the marketing team at Virgin Pulse, focusing on social strategy and health and wellbeing content. Outside of work, you can find her at the gym, hosting trivia, taking photos of food, or snuggling up on the couch with her dogs.

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