Many US Companies Still Have No Formal Return-to-Work Plan After Switching to Remote Work Policies

Colleagues businesswomen in the office talking while wearing medical face mask.
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Although many companies are returning back to in-office work structures, nearly 40% of organizations still have no formal return-to-work plan, according to a recent survey conducted by TinyPulse.

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Millions of Americans were thrown into remote work environments overnight at the beginning of the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Now, as companies are beginning to find ways to reopen offices safely, many are left without a solid plan for reopening.

TinyPulse reported results of its April 2021 employee engagement survey earlier this month in an effort to analyze how work trends had changed since the pandemic. In this survey, only 37% of human resource managers indicated that returning to the office was a high priority, perhaps indicating that their companies were functioning well as remote organizations.

“Remote working is here to stay,” TinyPulse CEO and founder David Niu said to GoBankingRates. “The rapid switch proved that it can be successful across a variety of industries. In fact, 90% of HR managers felt that their organization responded effectively to the pandemic.”

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Although a large number of companies surveyed did not have a plan for returning to work, hybrid work models have gained interest during the pandemic. This type of model, similar to hybrid school schedules that popped up over the past year, would have employees in the office for a portion of the week while also offering remote working days.

Niu told GoBankingRates, “Almost 40% of HR managers said they would be embracing a combination of in-person and hybrid work — even more so with three days a week in the office being the most popular.”

Companies will also have to grapple with longer-term effects of offering remote work during the pandemic. With one in four employees planning to quit their jobs or look for new employment post-pandemic, finding ways to retain employees is more important than ever.

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“Flexibility is not just going to be key for employees, but rather employers,” said Niu. “Their teams have adjusted, lived a new way of life and for the most part have been successful. Why take that away from your employees?”

Regardless of remote policies, 57% of HR managers surveyed noted that mental health was a top priority for employees in 2021, so employees should expect a push towards mental health programs.

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While the future of company work settings may be up for debate, one thing is for sure. Remote work has become a part of many employees’ daily lives and is likely not being taken away from them anytime soon.

“The transition from the office to homes forced organizations to be agile. Seemingly, it paid off,” Niu said. “If there’s any indication of where remote work might go, it’s likely to remain in your bedroom, kitchen or even home office, especially at higher levels compared to pre-pandemic.”

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About the Author

Courtney Johnston is an Indianapolis-based freelance writer with an emphasis on finance and small business. Her work has appeared on The Motley Fool, Investopedia, Fundera, JoyWallet, The Chicago Tribune, and Benzinga. She's passionate about personal finance and loves talking about money at

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