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The COVID War has played havoc with how companies have dealt with their workforces: shutting down offices, having employees work from home, keeping abreast of mask and vaccine requirements that seem to go back and forth, and changing the very nature of the relationship between the company and its employees.
And everyone involved has eagerly anticipated the time when workers would return and business would resume a more normal state of operation. Projections have been made as to just when that might occur, and then those projected dates have been postponed. See the following Trends Journal articles:
- "AMAZON PUSHES BACK RETURN FOR ITS CORPORATE WORKERS, BUT THOSE AT FULFILLMENT CENTERS MUST RETURN TO WORK" (10 Aug 2021)
- "FACEBOOK ANNOUNCES DELAY FOR RETURN OF U.S. EMPLOYEES TO THEIR OFFICE TO 2022" (17 Aug 2021)
- "BLACKROCK AND WELLS FARGO DELAY RETURN TO THE OFFICE" (10 Aug 2021)
As we had forecast, and a 6 September New York Times article confirms, many companies that had hoped this September would signal that return, September is now "out as an option, and it's anybody's guess when workers will return to their offices in large numbers."
A poll of 1,600 employers revealed that 40 percent had been compelled to postpone bringing employees back to in-person work, with 50 percent of those with more than 10,000 employees saying the same.
Vaccination rates and vaccine mandates figure into the projections. In a survey of nearly 1,000 companies which, together, employ almost 10 million persons, 52 percent expected to have vaccine mandates by the end of the year, with 21 percent already having such mandates in place (see "GOLDMAN SACHS IN CONTROL: GET YOUR JAB," 15 June 2021).
TRENDPOST: Postponements, the NYT tells us, give employees time to become fully vaccinated, and gives companies time to set up procedures to track workers' vaccination and booster shot status.
With all the uncertainty involved, some companies, including The New York Times and American Airlines, have opted out of even trying to project return dates. See "BACK TO WORK TRENDS DOWN," 22 June 2021.
All of this has ramifications that go beyond the companies and their employees, as TJ has forecast repeatedly; see, for example, "WORK FROM HOME = CITY REAL ESTATE DOWN," (20 Oct 2020) and "REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY UPDATE" (13 Apr 2021).
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