A return to the office could happen as vaccinations increase

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For many people, remote work is the new normal. But it wasn’t meant to last forever.

Today, as more and more Americans are vaccinated against Covid-19they may be able to return to work as early as this spring.

According to a report by The conference board.

However, many companies also said it would be difficult to reverse remote work after a year. Most can make it voluntary for some and mandatory for others, the think tank found – or adopt some sort of flexible weekly schedule.

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“As the vaccine becomes more available, you will see many workers returning to the office, said Laura Boudreau, assistant professor of economics at Columbia Business School.

However, “it is not obvious that everyone wants to leave or leave right away,” she added.

For employees, the choice is clear. More than half said that, given the chance, they would want to continue working from home even after the pandemic, according to a separate survey from the Pew Research Center.

Experts say employers can require employees to get vaccinated, but that’s unlikely unless they work in high-risk settings, such as nursing homes or meatpacking plants.

Most U.S. organizations said they will encourage, rather than force, their employees to get vaccinated, according to a study by the Society for Human Resource Management conducted in December. Only 3% said they would need it for at least some workers.

“It’s a bit of a gray area,” said David Barron, labor and employment attorney at Cozen O’Connor in Houston.

Equal employment opportunity laws allow companies to mandate flu and other vaccines, but employees can opt out under certain circumstances. The same may be true for Covid-19 vaccines, based on advice.

In that case, “maybe working from home is a reasonable accommodation,” Barron said.

There are still a variety of factors companies need to consider when making decisions about a return to the office.

Rhiannon Staples

Marketing Director at Hibob

Of course, not all workers have the option of working from home, even during a pandemic. There is a clear class divide between workers who can and cannot telecommutePew also found.

And for others, especially parents of young children, working from home has been particularly difficult.

“We still face health risks and personal challenges similar to those we had earlier in the pandemic – balancing work and childcare, elder care and more, which means that ‘there are still a variety of factors companies should consider when making decisions about a return to the office,’ said Rhiannon Staples, human resources expert and chief marketing officer at Hibob, a resource technology company human.

Overall, managers and HR teams need to be flexible with employees who are reluctant to come into an office at this point, especially if remote working has been successful in the past 10 months, he said. -she adds.

“Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for every business.”

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