Remote Work Might Be Here to Stay, Bosses Worry

Japanese man in casual clothes writing a document and his son using a laptop on the desk.
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With the Delta variant contributing to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, it looks increasingly likely that remote working will last longer than some bosses originally hoped. And there’s renewed speculation about whether it will become a permanent part of the business landscape.

See: Employees Would Rather Work From Home Than Get a Raise
Find: The Great Resignation — Encouraging June Jobs Report Hides This Worrying Trend

After another wave of return-to-office delays, some companies are considering the possibility of keeping offices closed for nearly two years, The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend. This has some executives worried that the longer employees work from home, the harder it will be to drag them back to the office.

“If you have a little blip, people go back to the old way. Well, this ain’t a blip,” Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger told the WSJ. “There is no going back.”

He expects that hybrid and remote work will remain the norm for months, and even years, to come.

See: How to Protect Yourself When You Return to Your Office
Find: 10 Major Companies Offering Paid Returnships for Job Candidates Looking to Reenter the Workforce

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Part of the reason is that many Americans who work remotely have changed their routines and lifestyles during the pandemic — something that will be difficult to reverse should work life return to pre-pandemic norms. What’s more, many enjoy the flexibility that comes from working at home. Enthusiasm for remote work has only grown stronger the longer the pandemic lasts, surveys show.

Meanwhile, office and on-site return dates continue to be delayed. Last week, Apple told its corporate employees that the company’s planned return to U.S. offices would be delayed until at least early next year, the WSJ reported. Amazon and Facebook made similar announcements, while companies such as Chevron and Wells Fargo have postponed September returns. Lyft said it would call employees back to its San Francisco headquarters in February — nearly two years after the ride-sharing company initially closed its offices.

Some companies have already made the decision to make remote or hybrid working a permanent part of the landscape. As previously reported on GOBankingRates, companies that have adopted a remote-first or hybrid model since the pandemic include Shopify, Coinbase, Nationwide, Quora, Upwork, Basecamp, VMWare, Pinterest and Dropbox.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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