Will Major U.S. Companies Ever Fully Re-Open Offices? CEOs Are Divided

Mandatory Credit: Photo by PETER FOLEY/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10424024x)Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase speaks at the Bloomberg Global Business Forum 2019 at the Plaza Hotel in New York, New York, USA, 25 September 2019.

The work-from-home revolution sparked by the pandemic will not simply fade away as a distant memory as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available and the U.S. begins to develop herd immunity.

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Several companies, notably big tech leaders in Silicon Valley including Twitter and Slack, reported that their employees will “never” need to come back to the office unless they choose to do so. But other companies continue grappling with the decision of when – or whether – to allow employees back into the office, according to a LinkedIn News report.

CEOs Weigh In

The Wall Street Journal published the thoughts of corporate leaders about returning to the office in 2021, showcasing widely varying opinions.

“COVID-19 was perhaps the worst possible catalyst,” says Synchrony Financial CEO Margaret Keane, “but it forced us to make a transition that was long overdue. We have… offered our employees the choice to work from home permanently or return to the office when it is safe.”

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Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase CEO, predicts that, in the future, “A certain amount of people work from home permanently.” On the other hand, Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser says that “everyone” will return to the office eventually. “I do think from a cultural point of view–apprenticeship, the sense of belonging–you are better together,” she says.

Vaccine Push from Top CEOs

Those CEOs in a hurry to return to business-as-usual, as well as those who employ essential workers who never left the worksite, are pushing for vaccinations for their employees. Some are offering cash incentives, extra paid hours, or even paid leave, Bloomberg reports.

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Currently, less than 1% of companies in the U.S. are mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, while 6% plan to do so, according to a February survey from Littler, an employment and labor law practice. Companies in U.S. states where employers can fire workers for any legal reason may be more likely to mandate the vaccines, as they will have recourse if workers fail to comply.

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Chase CEO Dimon, however, told Bloomberg his company won’t mandate the vaccine due to legal concerns. “I think what we’d like to do is have carrots and sticks — we want people to take it; we think it’s a far better thing.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.
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