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When (or if) Workers Will Return to the Office
Amid the coronavirus resurgence, a new Korn Ferry survey of professionals shows growing uncertainty regarding when – and if – there will be a return to the office.
While many companies had announced plans to re-open their offices after Labor Day, more than half (54 percent) of professionals say their companies have changed return-to-office plans in response to the increase in COVID cases.
When asked when they think they’ll go back to the office full-time, nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of respondents said it won’t be until 2022, and nearly one-third (32 percent) said “never.”
“Most organizations have been very successful at maintaining – or even improving - employee productivity during the transition to virtual work environments,” said Elise Freedman, Korn Ferry Organization Strategy and Workforce Transformation Practice Leader. “We’ve proven that being in the office is not mission critical to professionals getting their jobs done.”
Even when (and if) a full return eventually happens, there will be a shift in health protocols.
Nearly one-third (32 percent) of respondents say vaccines or negative COVID tests will be required before they are allowed to return, and 73 percent say masks will be required when inside the office.
“If employees feel their employers aren’t taking their well-being seriously enough, they will leave and find an employer who does,” said Freedman.
About the survey
378 professionals responded to the mid-August Korn Ferry survey
With the increase of COVID cases, has your company changed its return to the office plans?
Yes 54 percent
No 46 percent
When do you think you’ll go back to the office full-time?
This fall 13 percent
By the end of the year 13 percent
2022 22 percent
Already in the office full-time 20 percent
Never 32 percent
Does your employer require a vaccination or a negative COVID test to return to the office?
Yes 32 percent
No 68 percent
Will you be/are you required to wear a mask while inside the office?
Yes 73 percent
No 27 percent
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